Valencia Leaders Share Insights on Becoming an Inspirational Leader – Part IV

With a focus on harnessing the individual strengths of each team member, the fourth installment in this series emphasizes the importance of inspiring your team and increasing levels of engagement by leveraging strengths. Based on a five-step action plan outlined in the Talent Management magazine article “Are You an Inspirational Leader?” Mike Bosley, executive dean of the Lake Nona Campus, shares how he inspires his team by aligning individual strengths to increase effectiveness and foster a culture of employee success.

Photo of Mike (red hat) with his team at Learning Day 2012

Step Four: Honor team members’ strengths.
There is nothing more magical for a team or individual than when a person is put in a role that truly leverages his or her strengths. Moving a team member to a better-fitting role or actually altering the role itself to better suit an individual can have a powerful impact.

Mike has worked with many members of his team to help discover their strengths, utilizing tools such as DiSC and Strengths Quests. Identifying and utilizing individual strengths benefits both the person and the team; bringing about a greater sense of self-assurance in the individual and increased effectiveness of the team.

Team members’ strengths have also emerged in the midst of working on team projects,” Mike added. “I realized a teammate had a particular knack for making people feel comfortable no matter what the situation. Unofficially this person has become our campus ambassador, providing support in a variety of situations that require personal tact.” Mike noted, “In Strengths Quest this would be considered Woo, and having a Woo on your team can help you become very successful with people.”

Identifying strengths and leveraging them not only helps the team excel, but also helps the individual become more confident. Mike understands this and gets enjoyment by watching his team’s strengths get put to use. “Some [team members] are very new in their careers and in their positions,” he said. “It is exciting to support them as they discover their strengths.”

The observable outcomes of utilizing and aligning an individual’s strengths are plentiful. “It is really nice when you see someone realize how working within their strengths helps the whole team do a better job,” he said. “The team members have a higher level of commitment when playing to their strengths. What is even better is when they see how they can exceed their own expectations, which is when the real learning happens!”

When it comes to inspiring his team, Mike has discovered that knowing who is on his team goes beyond the facts that are presented on paper. “As supervisors we must know what gets people excited about their work,” Mike shared. “I get so excited when people have discovered what they can do to make our community a better place to learn. I am so proud of our team’s success and am ever hopeful for the impact we will make on our students and on one another.”

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