Experts Warn Executives: Fear Your Strengths - CW15 - OMAHA

Experts Warn Executives: Fear Your Strengths

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SOURCE Kaplan DeVries, Inc.

What you are best at could be your biggest problem.

NEW YORK, Feb. 4, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- In their book Fear Your Strengths, authors Robert Kaplan and Robert Kaiser say that many executive development practices have a glaring oversight: your strengths can work against you.

"A leader's desire to be forceful and straightforward with direct reports becomes a tendency to be abusive and preemptory. A devotion to consensus-seeking breeds chronic indecision. An emphasis on being respectful of others degenerates into ineffectual niceness. The desire to turn a profit and serve shareholders becomes a preoccupation with short-term thinking."

It's no wonder that the concept of strengths overplayed is overlooked in leadership development. Our culture's growth mentality seems founded on the belief that if some is good, a lot must be great. This thinking is reinforced daily when leaders get evaluated with five-point rating scales where higher scores are more desirable.

In contrast, when Kaplan and Kaiser assess executives, they ask colleagues to rate whether the leader does too much, the right amount, or too little of given behaviors. "The authors write, 'If you literally don't know your own strength, you have no way to calibrate or modulate it. In a relentless effort to be better, you have no way of knowing if you are going too far.'"

Fear Your Strengths offers leaders a way to rein in their overused strengths that goes beyond simply trying to modify behavior. The book also offers a practical psychology of leadership, and shows how leaders must also make changes in their mindsets by addressing the biases, misconceptions, and strong feelings that drive them overboard in the first place.

David Peterson, Ph.D., Director of Learning & Development at Google, Inc. calls Fear Your Strengths "an extremely useful guide for leaders seeking a deeper understanding of who they are and how they can lead successfully in an complex, ever-changing world."

Kaplan and Kaiser draw from decades of practical experience as leadership consultants and fifteen-year research program. The book was published in partnership with the Center for Creative Leadership in April 2013 and will be available in Spanish and Chinese this year.

Kaplan is the President of Kaplan DeVries, Inc., a consulting firm that specializes in evaluating senior executives and helping them-both individually and as a team-improve their effectiveness. Kaiser is President of Kaiser Leadership Solutions, a provider of tools for leadership assessment and training in advanced-level techniques for development professionals.

Jennifer Farrer
Phone (212) 786.9890
E-mail jfarrer@kaplandevries.com
Website www.kaplandevries.com

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