Happy New Year!

A few days before the New Year, I had the wonderful opportunity to lead a two-day leadership institute for emerging leaders in high school and colleges.  During this engaging, interactive, and empowering leadership institute, not only did I focus upon the organizational and relational leader, but I also took some time to help these emerging leaders increase their self-awareness by discovering some of the valuable leadership qualities that we possess within.  Some of the specific qualities discussed during this part of the leadership institute revolved around purpose, values, intuitive intelligence, personality, passion, emotional intelligence, and strengths and talents.

Although I believe that each of the leadership qualities discussed in the leadership institute our vitally important for us to possess as leaders, the quality that really impacted me the most in this particular session was the importance of identifying and leading with your strengths and talents.  In effect, I believe that all the other leadership qualities are extremely important for emerging leaders to be aware of within themselves, but in order to really succeed as a leader, I strongly believe that we must recognize, develop, and activate the strengths and talents from within.  One author describes a talent as a set of personal characteristics that enhances ones ability to achieve expertise in an accelerated manner while another author states that we build our strengths by identifying our dominant talents complemented with the knowledge and skills pertinent to the activity.  Ultimately, based on these two definitions, if we are going to experience the benefits of leading with our strengths and talents, we must take some time to identify the talent and build this talent into a strength through knowledge, practice, and skills pertinent to the talent.

As a national leadership speaker, the first reason why I believe its extremely important that leaders discover their talents and lead with their strengths is because Gallup has discovered that people who become aware of their strengths perform better than others, are more productive, more engaged in their work, and experience greater levels of success.  The second reason why I believe in this leadership concept of leading with your talents and strengths is because its helps leaders develop stronger teams, build stronger teams, and position themselves for greater excellence as a leader of a team.  Finally, the third reason why I feel so strongly about this concept is because when a leader’s talents and strength meet an immediate need within our culture and society, impact becomes a great reality for everyone involved which is one of the foundational reasons for leadership.

With so many different resolutions for the New Year, my challenge to you as a leader in 2017 is to take some time to look within and clearly identify your top three talents as a leader.  Then, I want to encourage you take some time each day or week to develop that talent and position yourself in a place where you can consistently lead others with your talents and strength everyday.  Personally, I not only believe that you will be more impactful as a leader, but you will also have incredible success!