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Strengths Based Leadership: Great Leaders, Teams, and Why People Follow

3.97  ·  Rating Details  ·  6,719 Ratings  ·  234 Reviews
From the author of the long-running #1 bestseller StrengthsFinder 2.0 comes a landmark study of great leaders, teams and the reasons why people follow.

Nearly a decade ago, Gallup unveiled the results of a landmark 30-year research project that ignited a global conversation on the topic of strengths. More than 3 million people have since taken Gallup’s StrengthsFinder asses
Hardcover, 266 pages
Published January 6th 2009 by Gallup Press (first published January 6th 2007)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Aug 23, 2010 Jennie rated it it was ok
Shelves: human-behavior
How is this a book? No, I am seriously asking. I have no problems with the material in the book. In fact it seems to be a good follow up to First Break All The Rules. The problem is tht there are about 45 pages of book and the rest is a couple of case studeis and then all about the categories. And not in an indepth way...more in a useless bulleted overview way. This book had potential but ended up feeling like a bloated magazine quiz. This never needed to be anything more than the website with q ...more
Feb 23, 2009 Ron rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erika RS
Dec 28, 2012 Erika RS rated it did not like it
I read this books as part of a reading group at work. It is a mediocre book with highly valuable information if you are willing to dig through the business speak and find it. As such, reading it in a group worked well. At our meetings, we were able to weed out the valuable information.

The theme of this book is that people do best when they focus on their strengths. This flies in the face of much popular wisdom which says that you should work to improve in your weakest areas. Instead, the author
Laura G
Jan 29, 2016 Laura G rated it it was ok
The psych major in me is interested in personality inventories, so the StrengthsFinder assessment was intriguing to me. I can't really judge if the results were absolutely accurate for me; most of my top five "themes" fit me, but I think that I could feel that way about several of the other themes described in the book too. I like the idea of knowing your own and other people's strengths, capitalizing on them, and finding people with different strengths to round out a team. It would be easy to s ...more
Miêu Tặc
Jan 05, 2015 Miêu Tặc rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: leaders, managers
Shelves: development, 2020
This book breaks the conventional wisdom that people should fix their weaknesses and become well-rounded.

Rather, it advocates a different approach that people should lean forward their strengths. Great leaders have the acute awareness of their strengths as well as their weaknesses. But they don't struggle to fix their weaknesses, instead they find the complements. This way, they build strong, well-rounded teams.

This book also comes with an extra book about themes of strengths, how to leverage th
Dec 28, 2011 Michelle rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
My brother is in town and while we were out and about he mentioned that he read this book first within a management program at work and then again within a service group at his church. As he was talking about it, it seemed as if there were many things that would interest me that go along with the themes in the book. Obviously, from the title you can see that the book focuses on finding your personal strengths as a leader. I picked it up and read it very night.

Debbie, you would unde
I would like to preface this review by explaining that I am moving to a leadership position at work, and my manager asked me if I had ever had any formal leadership or management training (I hadn't), and offered to send me to a seminar. As I would rather do just about anything than go to a business seminar (jargon-speak! icebreakers! introvert-torture!), I offered to read a bunch of leadership/management books on my own time and try to find a leadership mentor. This is the first attempt at part ...more
Sep 04, 2014 Mckinley rated it liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, career
Why follow leaders?
1. The most effective leaders are always investing in strengths.
2. The most effective leaders surround themselves with the right people and then maximize their team.
3. The most effective leaders understand their follower's needs.

2. Maximizing your team: 4 domains of leadership strength: executing, influencing, relationship building and strategic thinking
NO one is GOOD at all of these; idea is for team to be good at all.
- teams focus on results
- prioritize what's best for org
Dec 23, 2009 Peg rated it really liked it
My new boss had Directors read this, with the personal self-assessment (new book purchase comes with a one-user only code to take the assessment on line - nice gimmick for sales). Basic premise is that you get more out of people in the work place if you emphasize getting them to do what they're already good at and succeed at; and the effort to correct weaknesses or strengthen vulnerabilities rarely pays off much. Very quick read for a management book (a good thing) with practical suggestions for ...more
Andy Bernstein
Aug 12, 2015 Andy Bernstein rated it it was amazing
This is a very good book. It goes along with the Clifton Strengths Finder survey (which is amazing). It gives many good insights into how to use your strengths to be a better leader and how to better lead people based on their specific strengths. Clifton identifies 34 themes/strengths, and the premise is to focus on strengths rather than on weaknesses. Try to focus on amplifying the points of your star rather than trying to be well rounded. That is the pathway to happiness and success. I need to ...more
Gene Babon
Jul 20, 2009 Gene Babon rated it it was amazing
Shelves: leadership
Strengths Based Leadership is my early candidate for Best Business Book of 2009. This is a companion book to StrengthsFinder 2.0.

The value in both books gets created when you use the unique access code provided and take the time to learn about yourself. This book focuses on providing analysis to those who are in a leadership position or want to be.

If you are in a role that requires you to lead a team or help make a team more productive in some way (who isn't?), then learning more about what make
May 21, 2009 Mary rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction
Pretty good book on Leadership in the workplace. As with all generic psychology books, you need to take this with a grain of salt since many generalities are made. However, the key findings of managers investing in worker strengths, understanding what tools/training are needed to get the job done, and surrounding your self with the right people who are not necessarily like you in order to maximize all strengths seems somewhat obvious. He discusses his Four Domains of Leadership strengths: Execut ...more
Jul 21, 2010 aaron rated it liked it
this is a pretty good book about leading with your strengths instead of focusing on your weaknesses. it tell of different styles of leadership and of the ways that you can use them to effectively lead others. it makes the point that great leadership isn't always cut from the same mold, in fact, most great leaders are very different from each other. i think that may be one of the most important lessons to take from this book. i read it for marriage counseling. there are definitely some examples y ...more
Henrik Brameus
Apr 18, 2011 Henrik Brameus rated it liked it
Shelves: business
The underlying concept of the book is good. We are all different, and there are no specific traits that make people leaders. there, now you know the basis of the book.

As far as the book goes, it is a bit thin on actual reading. A big part of the book are descriptions of the 32 different personality aspects, which is not necessarily riveting reading. It could serve as useful reference when you are leading others. But I was still sensing a clear lack of guidance and advice.

One of the stars for th
Mar 08, 2014 Julie rated it liked it
It was interesting to read about the 34 different strengths that a person may possess.
This book comes with an access code for an online assessment to determine your top 5 strengths. It was interesting to read about my top 5 strengths and to also identify other strengths that I think I have. Reading this book and taking the assessment was definitely a growing experience for me.
Melissa Musser
May 26, 2016 Melissa Musser rated it liked it
Giving three stars because the test you take when you get the code with the book is very useful--you get your top 5 strengths and a helpful guide for how to be an effective leader using your strengths. The guide is also good for leading others if you know their strengths.

However, the book itself was not helpful at all. I read the stories, but they added no value to my perception of the strengths-based leadership mindset.
Jul 06, 2015 Beth rated it it was ok
I was assigned this book for a conference I am attending. It is rather more propaganda than anything else. The print is big and the white space large, so at least it is an easy read. You know all those "personality tests" on the Internet? That's what this book reminded me of. "What sort of leader are you?" Right between "what's your true spirit animal" and "what 1980's sitcom character are you?" There needed to be more depth (instead of "check out our website or read our other publications") abo ...more
Nov 18, 2014 Amy rated it liked it
A bit of a rehash of strengthfinders 2.0 but some good stuff. Definitely getting the whole team to take the test and see if we can work to our "strengths".
May 05, 2016 Edwina rated it really liked it
I skimmed this book for a class, but decided to read through it in more detail.
The following quote is the premise of the book: "If you focus on people's weaknesses, they lose confidence" - Mervyn Davies, p 54. So basically it's saying if you want to lead, focus on your strengths.
I recommend buying a new copy since it has a one time use code to take the strengthfinder 2.0 test online. I bought it off of amazon without realizing and the code was already used.
The is based off of a 20+ year gallup
Feb 18, 2016 Brian rated it it was ok
“Strengths Based Leadership” is a book that if you read you more than likely were made to for a work based class or project. And that is fine, it meets that use well, but it is not a book to just pick up and read because it sounds interesting.
First off, the actual text is only 100 pages or so. The rest is test analysis and research info. The book is really a test to find your areas of strength (it comes out of the Gallop organization and has been meticulously researched) and then it goes on to e
Aug 07, 2015 Anna rated it really liked it
I think being self-aware is a really important part of making deliberate career choices and finding satisfaction in your work. This book (and the accompanying assessment you can take) really helped me identify my strengths and focus on leveraging those. As an achiever I have a tendency to want to excel at everything, and this helped me realize that focusing on further developing your natural strengths is where true excellence (and satisfaction) can be found. It also helped me to be less critical ...more
Mar 01, 2015 Allan rated it really liked it
Shelves: tech
I love the concept of playing to your strengths. Weaknesses are hard to overcome, and although doing so can be immensely gratifying, doing so doesn't usually further your personal or professional goals. Identifying your strengths and being aware of them is very powerful. I was impressed by how accurately the StrengthsFinder profiling was for me.

This book also discusses how various personality types can be leaders by focusing on strengths. Many people may not feel that they have the charisma and
Feb 10, 2015 Emily rated it it was ok
The point of Strengths Based Leadership is that you are not Abraham Lincoln. Nor are you Sun Tzu, Geronimo, Lee Iacoca, or any other great man of history/business about whom you have read a book encouraging you to emulate. You are you, and you should not try to be Abraham Lincoln, but you should acknowledge your own strengths and build a team of others with a diversity of strengths, which is what Abraham Lincoln did, but you're still not Abraham Lincoln. That's the main point, but how to fill th ...more
Nov 02, 2014 Todd rated it it was ok
A quick self-improvement work on leadership, this book serves mainly as a vehicle to promote Gallup's StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment tool. The work opens by correctly noting most people's lack of self-awareness/honesty in terms of their own leadership potential ("Out of 1,001 people randomly surveyed, 97% rated their ability to lead as being at or above average." p 1). It then transitions into a parable about a boss addicted to following first one then another leadership fad, without attaining a ...more
Muralidhar Patnam
Feb 06, 2016 Muralidhar Patnam rated it really liked it
Shelves: business
The strengths assessment tool along with the book is a great combination for introspection. The myth of a well-rounded leader is emphasized through research, logic and stories of successful business leaders. It is interesting that while leader needn't be well rounded, the teams should be well rounded. Book has practical explanation on how to lead people with different strengths and why it's important to build teams with diverse strengths to make them well rounded. Must read for any business lead ...more
Jan 13, 2016 Jenny added it
Shelves: non-fiction, business
This was an assigned reading for work but I didn't mind it. I've had to read so many business books when managers hop onto the newest trend and sometimes they can be very cumbersome to get through. This moved quickly and had a very simple lesson: Figure out what you're good at and figure out where you're weak. Once you understand your weaknesses, hire people to fill in those areas so you have a well-rounded team.

You should read the first half of the book, take the assessment and then the last p
John Kenworthy
Jun 10, 2013 John Kenworthy rated it did not like it
I really cannot recommend this book. Whilst the research behind it appears to have some basis in fact, the assessment and recommendations are generic and could apply to anyone.
Plus, it focuses on the whole concept of developing your strengths only. The key idea that led to the financial crisis where the character of the person and their weaknesses are not addressed.
C.H.E. Sadaphal
May 20, 2016 C.H.E. Sadaphal rated it really liked it
The bottom line: Gain insight into how you can lead best so that you can start doing more of it.

Before I get into the review, a word of advice to all potential buyers: Unless you have already taken a StrengthsFinder quiz and know your dominant themes, you must buy this book new. A new book comes with an exclusive one-time access code in the back that unlocks an online survey. Your unique survey results will then calculate what your strengths are, so that you can get the most value out of Strengt
I read this book because we had two copies of it in the company bookshelf and immediately I grabbed one with very high expectations where I should admit that I was a little bit disappointed.

The idea of the book revolves around self-awareness and awareness of the others so whenever you are able to identify your strength and weakness points as well as the others, you will be able to invest in these strength in order to achieve a better leading skills.

The book starts with telling stories (I do lov
Carol Smith
Jan 26, 2014 Carol Smith rated it liked it
This was required reading for a new small college library directors program I participated in. Like many books of its type, the main points could be summarized in a single page vs. an entire book. In a nutshell, identify and play off your particular leadership strengths, and also identify and integrate the different leadership strengths of your team to form a stronger whole. It's a quick read, and half the book is made up of appendices detailing and offering prescriptions for each strength type. ...more
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ARE YOU FULLY CHARGED?, the latest national bestseller by Tom Rath, was released in mid 2015. Tom's six NYT/WSJ bestsellers have sold more than 6 million copies and made over 300 appearances on the Wall Street Journal Bestseller list. Connect with Tom at:

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“If you spend your life trying to be good at everything, you will never be great at anything.” 18 likes
“Although individuals need not be well-rounded, teams should be.” 12 likes
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