Strengths – What Floats your Boat?


There have been a couple of posts already about the amazing learning Youth Addressing Local Poverty (YALP) Conference at SMUS from Middle School students and Senior School students. I would also like to acknowledge the leadership demonstrated by the student organizers of the conference. A lot can be studied, written, read or lectured about leadership but when it comes right down to it, what they accomplished was “bang on” what I consider to be excellent leadership.

In a nutshell, this group along with Mr. Cook’s guidance and support, saw a need, gathered different perspectives, listened, learned and took action. I will be writting more about this on the leadership blog. But for the purpose of this weekly email, I want to start with one message from the conference from keynote speaker, Marc Kielburger of Free the Children.


“Individual gifts, plus an issue, equals change. Every person has a gift. Put that with an issue that you care about and change will result”. Mark Kielburger @Yalp2013

This brings me to the 2 themes of the Leadership Development Series.


Marcus Buckingham has written extensively on strengths-based leadership. He writes,

“You grow most in your areas of greatest strength. You will improve the most, be the most creative, be the most inquisitive, and bounce back the fastest in those areas where you have already shown some natural advantage over everyone else – your strengths. This doesn’t mean you should ignore your weaknesses. It just means you’ll grow most where you’re already strong.”

So….how to develop this as a leader?

Action #1: Identify your Strengths

This is all about figuring out what lights your fire and floats your boat.

  • What activities make you feel really useful, alive, and strong?
  • When do you feel like a rock star, a gifted contributor, a very purposeful human being…..most like yourself?

You do not need to be stellar at the activity but you feel great when you do it.

Action #2: Nourish your Strengths

Intentionally acknowledge the 2-3 times this week when you get to nourish that strength (when you get to do what you feel great doing).

Write down how can you build more of that into your week?

Back to YALP…In a crowd of people, each will have a different approach to leading. Just as the YALP crew pulled off a great conference, they will surely have stories of people shining in different ways as they brought their individual strengths to the table.

When we know what those strengths are, we can be so effective as leaders. Take the time, think of your strengths, and continue to spend time developing those gifts.


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