There are many approaches to leadership development, mentoring, and discipleship within organizations and churches.
And there is no leadership development approach that is flawless.
One of my mentors exposed me to the “strengths-based movement” when I chose to follow the path of pursuing a minor under-grad degree in leadership while attending SOSU… but I didn’t truly invest energy or mental bandwidth toward this leadership development approach until August of 2010 (at the beginning of my sabbatical).
The most attractive part of the strengths-based approach to leadership is the simple focus that it gives to a leader. By the very nature of the model, the strengths-based leadership approach rejects the ideal of omnicompetence.
We utilize the strengths-based approach in our leadership track at Remedy Church because we want to catalyze each of our leaders to be as effective as possible beyond the doors of our church building. We have discovered that leaders are more passionate and focused when they lead from their strengths. We have also found that our Elders are better informed in how to shepherd our organization (because the local church is BOTH an organism and an organization) effectively when we understand the natural (and nurtural) strengths of each leader.
This is a pallet wall that we have just begun building in our Shepherding Office. This strengths wall design has already helped us during a recent organizational transition because it made the strengths of our current leaders more tangible. We hope to expand this beyond our current leaders through our entire Covenant Partnership in 2014.
When we have the beautiful opportunity to commission and send one of our leaders… we give them their individual strengths board as a relic of remembrance and appreciation.
Again, there is no approach to leadership and discipleship that is without its’ flaws because each leader, each disciple-maker, and each organization has blindspots and baggage. But the greatest travesty for emerging leaders is working and serving in organizations that think leaders will simply emerge “naturally”.
Leadership development doesn’t happen on accident.
Recently, we discovered a free strengths assessment tool that is comparable to the Clifton StrengthsFinder. I still believe the Clifton StrengthsFinder is the superior test… but if you are in a pinch financially (or just ultra-skeptical) this strengths assessment tool is “close enough”. The primary downside (beyond the poor branding) is that you will have to translate the names of the 34 themes from the hacked-monikers to the true Clifton StrengthsFinder themes. I also dislike the fact that the free test generates a ranking of all 34 themes for the leader… this steals from the beauty of the StrengthFinder’s simple focus. Alas… the test is free, and in our local comparison tests, it produced results that were very similar to the results of those who had previously taken the official Clifton StrengthsFinder.
And so (without further delay)… here are my strengths::
What are your strengths?