Now, Discover Your Strengths is one of the better books on leadership written in the last 5 years. It helps you identify your 5 biggest areas of strength in leadership, and doesn’t worry much about the weaknesses. For those of you familiar with it, this flies in the face of Christian Schwarz’s Natural Church Development philosophy of leadership…which I have endorsed for some time…and still do.
Buckingham and Clifton’s single greatest insight is something that I have sensed intuitively for some time, but couldn’t find words to express: Great leaders spend most of their time investing in their strongest people. Edwin Friedman would echo that healthy bodies orient around health, not sickness. Buckingham is also not so far off from Jim Collins’ Good to Great concepts of getting the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus (of leadership). It also acknowledges that all are gifted, but differently, "just as the Spirit has chosen."
As a maximizer, by Now, Discover Your Strengths testing, I resonate with this. While the majority of me backs away and stands up for the marginalized at this point, there is also a part of me that recognizes that not all are gifted for leadership in the church. So, I invest much of my servant leadership development time and energy toward those who seem gifted or think they are gifted for such. As I see it, as long as I am in ministry, my time should always be available to everyone. The specific energies I have to devote to servant leadership development, however, are best devoted to those who aspire to servant leadership. Usually, I’ll learn more from them than they’ll learn from me.