VALOR stands for Virginia Agriculture Leaders Obtaining Results. Although our platform is agriculture we will be evaluating leadership in the industry and ourselves. For Session II we completed the Strengths Finder Assessment. It is a 100+ questionnaire and out of a bank of 34 options you are given a ranking of your top 5 Strengths.
We were fortunate enough to have Dana Fisher from Virginia Farm Bureau with us to help digest the material and what it means for leadership. Dana initially defined Strengths as:
Theme =Talent = Natural
Talent + Skill (Practice) + Knowledge = Strength
Out of the 34 Strengths there are some similarities among them and they are divided up into four domains: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking. Dana stated that all domains are important to accomplishing tasks in leadership – but many folks do not have strengths from all four categories. What to do?
As mentioned in Strengths Based Leadership many times people try to imitate successful leaders, yet find themselves unsuccessful. Just like people have different personalities, they have different strengths. Successful leaders may not necessarily have a specific set of strengths; but they do have effective ways to utilize their individual strengths and coping mechanisms for working around their weaknesses.
Probably one of the best ways for individuals to manage weaknesses that Dana mentioned is to partner with those who have different strengths from themselves. For example, if a leader has strengths that are considered Executing and Influencing they should seek out someone who is more into Relationship Building and Strategic Thinking to help accomplish their goals.
Obviously not everyone you work with can or will take Strengths Finder to discover their strengths. But being familiar with the following things in regards to strengths can lead to more effective leadership:
- Different strengths result in individuals approaching tasks differently
- Using a strength to approach a task instead of using a perceived weakness can lead to greater/quicker/enjoyable successes
- Being aware of your own strengths and acknowledging different strengths in others can help you work better in teams
If the opportunity ever arises for you to take the Strengths Finder Assessment I highly recommend it. I have found that knowing my strengths builds my confidence and helps me approach tasks in my personal and professional life.
Thanks again for following the journey of VALOR Class IV!