Coaching Article: Jumpstart Your Leadership Talents – Find Your Strengths

By Lee Ellis

You’re a very talented person. I hope you know that. But you’re not alone. Everyone has talents. The specific challenge is to discover them and then pursue and develop the ones that you’re passionate about using.

In professional sports, teams spend a lot of time and money assessing the talents of candidates before they offer them a big contract with a healthy signing bonus. That is an extreme case, but the important point is that talents are the key to great performance. But before we can attach tangible value, we must discover them. Let’s explore this valuable insight and then learn how to exploit it for maximum results and performance in life and work.

What About You?  

Let’s focus on yourself first –

  • Do you know your best talents?
  • Do you know what roles they fit the best?
  • How did you discover that?
  • Was it through trial and error?
  • Did you get confirmation through a behavioral assessment?
  • Did you learn about your talents through the affirmation and feedback from others?

All are important and valid ways of talent discovery. Trial and error is a good way to learn, but it can also be slow and painful.

Watch what Lee says about it in this month’s Leading with Honor Coaching, and click the emoticons and make comments as you watch –

Now in this blog, let’s look at the two best way to determine your natural talents (strengths): assessment and insights from others.

  1. Assessments. There are many kinds of assessments, and here’s an extreme example, but you’ll understand my point. Each year before the annual draft, the NFL conducts its “Combine” to assess pro football candidates. Former college stars go through several days of rugged tests: physical, mental, and very exhaustive interviews all designed to evaluate their talents and fit. The Combine measures the candidates’ speed, strength, vertical leap, and even hand size for quarterbacks. These results are compared to established data and statistics to predict an athlete’s capability to block, accelerate to make a tackle, or throw a long pass needed for a “deep” route.

The assessment that we use in personal and team training does something similar in that a person’s scores are compared to a standardized score to predict their best traits and the strength of them. For 30 years I’ve been involved in developing and using assessments of natural talents. We employed the help of IO Psychologists (also called occupational psychologists, organizational psychologists, or applied psychologists) to statistically validate our assessments. Now we have data from millions of people who have taken the assessments to identify their strongest talents.

“When people focus on their natural strengths in work, they’re jumpstarting their potential to be among the best in their field.” [Tweet This]

We all know this obvious principle, yet so often it gets ignored. Sadly, many enter fields of work based on what Mom or Dad wanted, what their friends are doing, or what pays the most. Conversely, matching natural talents to roles is freeing and energizing to help people truly succeed, and assessments play an important role. In day-to-day work across many industries besides sports, we can implement our own version of a “Combine” assessment to measure and maximize natural talents.

Recently, we’ve been exploring the power of identity for building confidence and success in life.  Knowing our talents is an important part of human identity. Knowing yours can be powerful. Helping others understand theirs is an opportunity to help them accelerate their growth in a positive direction.

  1. Insights from others. We all have self-doubts. They come at us at many angles and one of those is our abilities. Do we have what it takes? Do we have the talents to succeed? Most of us face those questions along the way and especially in the early years or when we’re embarking into something new. One of the best solutions to those doubts is the specific affirmation of others who “call out” our talents.

This is one of the great responsibilities of leaders, teammates, friends, and family members.

“When leaders highlight and encourage someone’s talents, their confirmation is powerful to knock down self-doubt.” [Tweet This]

You are giving a gift that you may never know how it played out, but you can be sure it lifted them higher. Please coach yourself to affirm others’ talents. It’s one of the greatest gifts you can give.

I challenge you to reflect on your own life and recall the people who called out your talents and encouraged you. What has been the power those words have had on your life? That would be a story worth sharing.

Please do so as part of your response to this blog. We would love to read a bit of your story and how others encouraged your talents and believed in you.


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The New Primer for Discovering Your Natural Talents 

Every human is unique — and the best leaders know why this might be an advantage. Learn how embracing different talents and abilities, both our own and those of others, can lead to more effective leadership and success.

Grounded in statistical research and supported by data from millions of clients and more than 45 years of workplace experience, Lee Ellis and Hugh Massie reveal their personal stories and experience on how they’ve successfully helped organizations achieve their goals by applying practical insights on human design.

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Additional discount available for bulk orders.

“…There are few that have made significant strides on making ‘knowing yourself’ operational and real as Lee and Hugh have in this marvelous book. Reading this book is a compelling adventure. If you follow the path, you will change for the better!” Richard Boyatzis, Co-author of the international best seller, Primal Leadership and the new Helping People Change

“This is the book that I have longed for during my decades in managing talent. Having seen the positive impact of DNA Behavior on my teams, this is a must-read for leaders who desire to build strong teams by accelerating natural talents in an authentic and lasting way.” – Belva White, CPA, MBA, Vice President for Finance & Treasury, Emory University




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