For me, the Strengths-Based Leadership program gave me an alternative model for how to "lead" and a much deeper understanding of how to energize a team to meet their full potential. I'd been following a more traditional approach by simply modeling my previous manager. It did not feel authentic and did not celebrate what the team was doing well. Implementing a strengths-based approach ensured my team felt valued, understood the importance of their role and had the resources they needed to perform at their best.
I immediately recognized the value of tools like the Engaged Feedback Checklist, Powerful Questioning and Appreciative Inquiry but it was such a different approach than I was used to and it was such a lot of information! It was a new language to me. At first it did not come naturally, and I felt self-conscious until I became more familiar with the new concepts. I was transparent with my team in all aspects of this new process. I explained why I thought a Strengths Based Approach would benefit our team and our organization. I explained to them that I was introducing and practicing a new skill and I requested their patience as my competence grew. It took a lot of practice and continually referring to the notes and worksheets. I shared with them that I was learning this new language and that I would be asking them a lot of questions! At first, our check in meetings were a bit 'clunky'. Sometimes it was tempting and definitely would have been easier to revert back to problem solving and providing solutions, but I knew that just like learning a language - I had to keep practicing to become more fluent! As time has gone on, my team understands and appreciates the new approach and know why I ask so many 'powerful' questions! They operate more independently because they implement the same process to get to a solution to a challenge they are facing and when they come to me now, they are presenting possible solutions rather than problems. It's changed our conversations and our culture. But it is ongoing and as with any language, if you don't use it, you lose it!
Gillian Byerly, Director, Girls on the Run Capital Area
Completed the Strengths-based Leadership Certificate Program in February 2019
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