The results are documented in a book called First, Break All the Rules: What the World’s Greatest Managers Do Differently, by Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman (Simon & Schuster, 272 pp., $28.35). According to the study, many managers make two key mistakes:
1. They assume that each person can learn to be competent in almost anything.
2. They believe each person’s greatest room for improvement is in their weakness.
Great managers, however, do not help people overcome their weaknesses so they can do a competent job, because competency does not lead to excellence. Which would you prefer, a “competent” surgeon or a great surgeon?
It can be dangerous to focus on improving an individual’s weaknesses. This can take an enormous amount of energy on the part of the manager and the person being managed.
Obviously, we all can improve; however, having a strengths-focused philosophy increases the likelihood of success and is much more profitable and enjoyable for all involved.