Byron's Babbles

The Greater the Strengths the Greater the Weaknesses

Posted in Coaching, Educational Leadership, Leadership, Learning Organization, Spiritual by Dr. Byron L. Ernest on July 12, 2015

super_StarWe all know it is a priority to help each person in our organizations to focus on his or her strengths to enhance the performance of the entire organization. This week’s coaching for leadership and effectiveness lesson from Peter Drucker deals with managing the superstar. After reading this week’s entry I would back up a step and say that some organizations (and probably most if we are honest), my own school included, have to find ways to identify the superstars. Additionally, we need to find ways to develop team members into superstars – that will be a topic of another blog post on another day.

Helping each person to focus on his or her strengths will enhance the performance of the entire organization. The goal is to use the performance of starts not only to promote their objectives but by their positive example, to raise standards of performance of others and to help others become star performers (Maciariello, 2014). We as the leaders of our organizations have the obligation to provide opportunities for our team members to build on their strengths and make their weaknesses irrelevant. In other words a skill or behavior that is a strength in one person can offset a weakness in the form of that same skill or behavior in another person. We must think: What can we do to make the deficiencies become subordinate to strengths?year-with-peter-drucker This can be done by highlighting the performance example the individuals set and making our superstars in particular areas accessible to colleagues who need their help.

“One should waste as little effort as possible on improving areas of low competence. Concentration should be on areas of high competence and high skill. It takes far more energy and far more work to improve from incompetence to low mediocrity than it takes to improve from first-rate performance to excellence. And yet most people – and equally most teachers and most organizations – try to concentrate on making incompetent performers into mediocre ones. The time, energy, and resources should instead go into making a competent person into a star performer.” ~ Peter Drucker & Joseph A. Maciariello

One way Drucker advocated using star performers was to use them as featured performers. By using star performers as teachers of his or her peers allows the star performer recognition as well as building pride in the organization for all. Let’s face it, learning from an actual high performer would be the most effective way to learn. Additionally, it is an important function of us, as leaders, and our organizations to make our team members’ strengths effective in performance and to help neutralize human weaknesses. In all of this, however, do not forget that superstars are expensive. I am not talking money here. They are hard to deal with sometimes because, almost always, they are very unbalanced (Maciariello, 2014). Thus the title of this post: The Greater the Strengths the Greater the Weaknesses. Superstars are very narrow in their range. This makes it challenging for us as leaders, but be must find ways to effectively use the incredible talents of these individuals. 500px-Crompton_Deut_25-4_thou_shalt_not_muzzle_the_ox

Maciariello (2014) used a very appropriate Bible verse from Deuteronomy 25:4 to illustrate: “You shall not muzzle an ox while it is treading out the grain. Let it thresh the corn [and reap rewards accordingly]!” One thought is for us, as leaders, to tread right along side of our superstars. Leaders need to remember that team members are paid to perform and not to please you as the leader.

Some thoughts to ponder:

  • What does your organization do to build individual strengths and neutralize weaknesses?
  • Do you have a process to recognize and use your superstars to serve a models and teachers for the other team members?
  • Do you and your organization keep superstars where their strengths remain productive?
  • Do you protect your superstars, and all team members for that matter, against their blatant weaknesses and errors?

Reference

Maciariello, J. A. (2014). A year with Peter Drucker: 52 weeks of coaching for leadership effectiveness. New York, NY: HarperCollins Publishers.

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