Enjoy this excerpt from our new book, Healthy Leadership.
Oftentimes, cultivating talent isn’t a linear path—it zigs and zags. As part of your role in helping your employees find their sweet spots, you need to structure their wanderings with a sense of direction.
This was true of Tony Robbins. Most people know him as a self-help author, speaker, and philanthropist who has transformed millions of peoples’ lives. But before Robbins became arguably the world’s most famous life coach, he was a teenager from a difficult family situation in need of coaching himself.
He had no idea where his talents lay, though he was extremely motivated to find a purpose in life and make a difference—he just didn’t know how to go about doing this. Fortunately, he found guidance in the form of a man named Jim Rohn, an entrepreneur and pioneer in the field of motivational seminars, who started coaching Robbins.
As an ambitious and energetic young man, Robbins wanted to have an impact—and fast. Rohn convinced him to slow down, stop focusing on outcomes, and instead start focusing on strengthening his skills. You can’t put success before having a talent in place first.
Robbins listened, while also heeding Rohn’s advice to look for his value and consider how he could help others. Additionally, he adopted Rohn’s recommendation to read every single day in search of new insights and inspiration. This approach paid off for Robbins.
Thanks to Rohn’s coaching, he combined his interests in behavioral science with his own brand of high-intensity, high-connection motivational speaking. He created a powerful new style of coaching that drew more and more people to him, eager to hear what he had to say.
By his mid-20s, Robbins had a best-selling book, a blossoming career, and most importantly, a deep knowledge of his passion and strengths: he’d found his sweet spot.
In a tribute to Rohn soon after his death, Robbins recalled, “He gave me a way of looking at life that allowed me to not ask life to be easier, but to ask that I be better. He got me to realize that the secret to life was to work harder on myself than my job or anything else, because then I’d have something to give people.”
Rohn helped Robbins find his competence, and competence builds confidence. It makes sense: The quickest way to build competence is to start with strengths.
In fact, a study by the Corporate Leadership Council that included 19,187 employees from thirty-four countries across seven industries, using standardized measures of individual performance, found that managers who used a strength-based approach with their employees helped improve performance by 36.4 percent. On the other hand, managers who focused primarily on employees’ weaknesses saw employees’ performance decrease by 26.8 percent. So, shift your focus from what is wrong to what is strong.
If you are committed to healthy results and relationships, then focus on strengths when you coach your team. Lead them to their sweet spots by looking for their natural gifts and helping them thrive in those areas.