I am a proponent of the management philosophy that a person should focus on developing their strengths rather than trying to fix their weaknesses. This theory was proposed by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in their book, First, Break All The Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently. This idea was based on the Gallup organization’s interviews with 80,000 managers across different industries and the authors explored how great managers attract, hire, focus, and keep their most talented employees.
Here are some key ideas from the book:
1. The best managers reject conventional wisdom.
2. The best managers treat every employee as an individual.
3. The best managers never try to fix weaknesses; instead they focus on strengths and talent.
4. The best managers know they are on stage everyday. They know their people are watching every move they make.
5. Measuring employee satisfaction is vital information for your investors.
6. People leave their immediate managers, not the companies they work for.
7. The best managers are those that build a work environment where the employees answer positively to the following 12 Questions:
a. Do I know what is expected of me at work?
b. Do I have the materials and equipment I need to do my work right?
c. At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best everyday?
d. In the last seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
e. Does my supervisor or someone at work seem to care about me as a person?
f. Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
g. At work, do my opinions seem to count?
h. Does the mission/purpose of my company make me feel my job is important?
i. Are my co-workers committed to doing quality work?
j. Do I have a best friend at work?
k. In the last six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
l. This last year, have I had the opportunity at work to learn and grow?
The Gallup study showed that those companies that reflected positive responses to the 12 questions profited more, were more productive as business units, retained more employees per year, and satisfied more customers. In my experience I’ve found this practice to be invaluable in helping transform organizations.