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Marcus Buckingham Thinks You Don’t Know What You’re Good At

Leaders—and leadership teams—perform best when all the individuals involved actually know how to capitalize on their strengths. According to research, no one does.
COLLABORATORS Marcus Buckingham
Marcus Buckingham says leaders don't know their strengths
photo by Dominic Alves

Bestselling business author Marcus Buckingham has made a career out of combining soft (he wants you to be happy, really he does) with hard (his longitudinal quantitative research has exposed more than a few workplace “truths” as mythical). The through-line of his writing over the past decade has led him to an almost messianic conviction that managers are generally horrible at knowing their own strengths and weaknesses — and even worse at knowing the same about the key members of their teams.

And that lack of awareness, he claims, is the single biggest obstacle to not only optimized performance but, you’ll forgive the word, joy. In this video, Buckingham explains what he means.

THE PLUS

Soccer fans should note that Buckingham’s first example of “the perfectly imbalanced team” was FC Barcelona, not Facebook. Buckingham started his inquiries into the intersection of personal and management performance while getting a master’s degree in social and political science from Cambridge University, where he wrote a thesis on “The Social and Psychological Issues of Entrepreneurship.”

Now there are lots of videos of Buckingham online, including a two-minute book trailer of him talking about the newly published StandOut and a 3:41 excerpt of a speech on putting your strengths to work. Follow Buckingham online at his blog.

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