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Leadership Strength: the Four Domains

The strengths movement made popular by Marcus Buckingham has influenced countless leaders and organizations. By taking the Strengthsfinder assessment, you can pinpoint your five greatest talent themes and discover how to leverage them for personal and organizational success. But one of the most helpful tools in the strengths movement is the book Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath and Barry Conchie.

In Strengths Based Leadership, the authors organize the 34 talent themes into four domains of leadership strength. Each domain describes how strengths can be leveraged in leadership for the effectiveness of the organization. The four domains include: Executing, Influencing, Relationship Building, and Strategic Thinking.

  • EXECUTING – Leaders whose strengths are primarily in the executing domain are great at making things happen. The bottom line for these leaders is their ability to get things done.
  • INFLUENCING – Leaders with strengths in the influencing domain are able to help the team reach a broader audience by selling the teams ideas inside and outside the organization.
  • RELATIONSHIP BUILDING – Leaders with relationship building strengths are like the glue of the organization and have the ability to create groups that are greater than the sum of their parts.
  • STRATEGIC THINKING – Leaders whose strengths lie in strategic thinking have the ability to keep the team focused on the future, to stretch thinking, and to innovate new ideas.

Rath and Conchie observe, “A more detailed language may work best for individual development, but these broad domains offer a more practical lens for looking at the composition of a team.” I have found that statement to be very true. It has helped us see where our team is strong, how we should restructure based on strengths, and where future hires need strengths.

If you’ve discovered your top five strengths by taking the Strengthsfinder assessment online, the following list organizes the strengths in each of the four leadership domains:

EXECUTING: Achiever, Arranger, Belief, Consistency, Deliberative, Discipline, Focus, Responsibility, Restorative

INFLUENCING: Activator, Command, Communication, Competition, Maximizer, Self-Assurance, Significance, Woo

RELATIONSHIP BUILDING: Adaptability, Developer, Connectedness, Empathy, Harmony, Includer, Individualization, positivity, Relator

STRATEGIC THINKING: Analytical, Context, Futuristic, Ideation, input, Intellection, Learner, Strategic

Question: In which leadership domain do you have the greatest strength? How can the leadership domains help your organization leverage its strengths.  

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Stephen Blandino is the Lead Pastor of 7 City Church near the downtown/cultural arts district of Fort Worth, Texas. He holds a Master's in Organizational Leadership and is the author of "GO! Starting a Personal Growth Revolution." He lives in the Fort Worth area with his wife Karen and their daughter Ashley. Stephen blogs regularly at www.stephenblandino.com on leadership, personal growth, church, and culture. You can also connect with Stephen on twitter @stephenblandino.