Strength-based approaches to leadership development are part of a paradigm shift that is occurring in organisational and leadership development. These approaches are moving away from the traditional deficit-based approaches that aim to identify and address weaknesses towards a more positive approach to development that identifies and leverages strengths. New theories such as authentic leadership as well as more established models like transformational leadership, are providing theoretical support for strength-based leadership development, (See Fig 1).
Fig 1. The Origins of Positive Leadership
Strength-based approaches vary in the degree to which they acknowledge and address weakness or focus purely on the strengths of the individual. Some approaches focus purely on the identification of strengths and assume that awareness alone is sufficient to promote development in the chosen area. Other approaches focus on the process of strengths development and specify how the individual by further leverage a particular talent without resorting to overuse. Finally there are approaches that fully acknowledge the reality of weakness and address them in conjunction with the identification and development of strengths. It’s this approach that we have pioneered at CSA Consulting.
Have a look at our research page to view the studies we have published in this area .
Fig 2 Strength-based Approach to Positive Leadership Coaching
The fundamentals: There is no agreed standardised protocol for strength based coaching. However there have been several attempts to articulate the assumptions that predicate this approach, (Linley, 2008). In essence it focuses on; 1. Focus on what’s right, working and strong 2. Recognises strengths as part of basic human nature 3. Believes the areas of greatest potential are our strengths 4. Believes we succeed by addressing out weaknesses only when we are also making the most of our strengths. 5. Believe using our strengths is the smallest thing we can do to make the biggest difference 6. Believes that strengths can be over, under or misused.