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Managing to Make a Difference by Larry Sternberg

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Chapter 72Build Your Strengths

Building your strengths is entirely consistent with focusing more on the 20. We discussed earlier in this book the importance of developing your people by investing in their areas of strength rather than remediating weaknesses. As we have said, there is a difference between room for improvement and potential for improvement. The same principles apply to you.

Working on areas of weakness yields minimal improvement after great effort. It undermines self-esteem. Working on areas of giftedness yields rapid improvement, upbeat engagement, and enhanced self-esteem if the area of giftedness is something a person enjoys doing. That “if” is critical. There are certainly some things you can do better than anyone else, but you do not enjoy doing them. No matter how talented you may be, trying to grow in an area you do not enjoy will feel like pushing a rope uphill.

The best managers and executives are self-aware and align their work accordingly. It is a sign of intelligence and self-confidence to acknowledge what you are good at and not good at, and what you like and do not like to do. The best managers and executives also surround themselves with people who possess strengths that are complementary to their own. They take full advantage of what other people are good at and enjoy in order to help those people grow and to achieve the highest levels of performance.

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