How Can You Use Your Strengths to Lead?

June 18, 2024

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How Can You Use Your Strengths to Lead?

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In the 17th century, an early American settler and mapmaker decided it would be advantageous to connect the waters of the Delaware Bay and the Chesapeake Bay, both of which flow into the Atlantic Ocean.

And, so, what began as a small ditch became a small waterway, at first only big enough for a canoe to cross. It has now become a canal capable of transporting massive freighters across a peninsula that would otherwise take 300 miles, about 10 hours, and thousands of dollars in fuel to navigate.

This is leadership strengths in action, across centuries. It is the visionary who recognized the merits of forging a new pathway. It is the engineers who designed massive mechanisms to manage the flow of water, and the engineers who designed the massive ships. It is the hands-on collective labor of skilled tradespeople who made the ideas a reality.

This is just one example of leadership strengths in action.

How are you using your strengths to lead?

It is fairly certain to assume the 17th century visionary could not possibly imagine the magnitude of what would come of his idea, nor its economic impact. But he acted on his strengths in a way that forged a path. And as others added their strengths through the centuries, the vision grew.

If you are thinking your bank of strengths is insignificant, consider this: it may be bigger than you imagine.

How can you use your strengths to lead?

Know Your Strengths

In coaching individuals, I still enjoy those “Aha!” moments, where someone sees for the first time their strengths. Of course, you and I know they were always there; and others can see them; but because they are so innate, often, people don’t recognize them for what they are.

Thus, it is important to learn your strengths. There are excellent tools for that here.

Grow Your Strengths

You can spend your life trying to overcome your weaknesses, or you can focus on growing your strengths. While you should be aware of your weaknesses, focusing on growing your strengths will propel you forward faster.

If you are good at something and invest time in growing that strength,
you have the potential to become great at it.

Why not go for great?

Invest in becoming your best self, not in trying to become someone else. As you can see in this story, all strengths are needed. And those who bring their highly developed strengths to their work are what our friend Seth Godin would call, a “Linchpin.”

Collectively, they create a legacy that can span generations.

Sow Your Strengths

While growing your strengths serves you, sowing your strengths serves others.

  • If being a visionary is one of your strengths, allow yourself time to think and ponder possibilities and to try new ideas. Don’t beat yourself up for not being a skilled tradesperson or implementer. “You be you,” as they say.
  • If hands-on work is your strength, put yourself in the types of work that allow you to express your gifts for craftsmanship. There is a high demand for skilled tradespeople in today’s world of work.
  • If deep thinking and analysis are your strengths, you can apply those skills to engineering, design, science, and technology in a myriad of ways.
  • If organization and systems are your strengths, you can lead by creating the processes that keep things flowing through a project and organization.

Sowing your strengths in this way serves others. And there is no higher calling than to serve.


Action Steps

  1. Know Your Strengths – If you haven’t already done so, take a strengths assessment. Click here for resources.
  2. Grow Your Strengths – Now that you know your strengths, plan for how you can grow them. This may include taking a class, reading a book, or taking on a position that allows you to exercise those strengths on a daily basis.
  3. Sow Your Strengths – How can you use your strengths to serve others? What needs do you see? How can help fill those needs?

For valuable resources on Strengths and Strategy, click here.

The Conversation-September 20,2024-Molloy University

Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after executive coach, mentor, consultant, and speaker worldwide. Deb is well versed in business operations and in the importance of asking key questions most business leaders won’t ask themselves. She brings deep experience in leadership development, strategy, high performance team building and effective communication. She has a passion for leading people to discover and maximize their strengths as well as those of fellow team members, while offering advanced strategies to achieve high performance. Deb is the perfect fit if you’re ready to take your leadership and impact to the next level!