I first came across the concept of strengths in about 1999 when I was introduced via Marcus Buckingham to his international bestseller ‘First, break all the Rules – What the worlds Greatest Managers do Differently’.  

One of the key elements that came from the Gallup Organisation’s research was that great managers would offer this advice: Focus on each person’s strengths and manage around their weaknesses.


People who use their strengths perform better than those who do not.  People who know and use their strengths effectively experience the following benefits (findings are taken from a number of studies carried out over the past 20 years):

• Higher levels of well-being

• Lower stress levels

• Higher levels of motivation

• More effective problem-solving

• Improved relationships at work

• Higher self-confidence

• Greater career success

• More effective teamworking

• Higher levels of job satisfaction

The Corporate Leadership Council in 2005 found that there were really big performance gains to be had when managers focused their performance reviews on employees’ strengths. The results were as follows:

Focusing on strengths during appraisal discussions resulted in enhanced performance by +36.4% 

Too much emphasis on weaknesses during appraisal discussions resulted in a decrease in performance by -26.9%

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