Thursday, February 16, 2012

The Authentic Leader

This week, John and I have been at Chick-fil-A's annual seminar for operators and home office staff. We heard from incredible speakers, had a surprise concert from Martina McBride, and were treated to a romantic evening of dinner and dancing on Valentine's Day.

It was definitely a "remark"able experience, as Chick-fil-A likes to call it.

Yet one of my favorite times during the event was hearing Marcus Buckingham speak. I love his passion for uncovering and developing others' strengths. Rather than focus on fixing weaknesses, which you can only improve upon so much, he challenges leaders to focus on developing their team's and their own personal strengths. Strengths are where the opportunity presents itself for major growth.

Buckingham ended his talk by stating that authenticity is the most valuable tool a leader has. He urged us to take what is unique about us a a leader (for instance- your influence, your pioneering spirit, your energy) and make it useful.

It's February, yet our apartment is surrounded by green. Among the overgrown bushes, one pink flower has blossomed. To me, this is a picture of authenticity- blooming at all times and sharing the gifts you have to offer. Pink beauty against gray, winter skies. 

Buckingham found that the majority of the US population would prefer to fix their weaknesses, with only 45% (and only 29% of Generation Y) focusing on enhancing their strengths.

Sometimes the harder choice is not to "fix" yourself but to allow yourself to be embraced for your strengths. Building on your strengths will allow you to give of yourself more and become a better leader because you'll be authentically living from who you truly are. 

First, discover your strengths. Then, live them out. 


  1. Steph,

    I recently started reading a book that you might be interested in taking a look at: "Leadership Excellence" by Pat Williams, Senior VP of the Orlando Magic. I'm not far enough into it to evaluate, but my dad edited it and gave me a copy so it's probably at least decent :)

    Love the blog. Glad to hear how God's at work in Atlanta!


  2. I'll have to check that out; thanks, Mike! You'll have to come visit us in Atlanta at some point! :)