September 1st 2015
Author: Thuy Sindell and Milo Sindell
This book is a concise and straight forward leadership development book with a bit of a twist to the normal personal development focus. Most of us know that focusing on weaknesses can be less fruitful than focusing on our strengths, as in “Now, Discover Your Strengths” and I’ve certainly used that coaching people for personal development. This book adds the advice to also not focus only on your strengths but instead, find the ‘hidden strengths’ that you can develop and gain more broad capabilities with less effort and time. This is done by the help of a skills assessment by the author and then a breakdown of 28 skills in 4 main categories:
- Leading Self
- Leading Others
- Leading the Organization
- Leading Implementation
The Sindell authors provide descriptions of each of the 28 skills, advice on how to use and develop them through numerous stories or case studies of business development where the characters develop hidden strengths to improve their roles in leadership. These hidden skill stories give believable evidence of how everyone has more hidden strength to draw upon and use in our personal development journeys. The only thing I didn’t like about these short stories is that they seem too easy in some of the cases where skills focus made significant impact in just days or a few short weeks in most cases. I personally haven’t ever found this to be the case, they usually develop and cause impact over the course of many weeks, or even months or years. Skills just don’t have that immediate of impact in organizations and in all the people I’ve coached, it typically takes longer for them to even practice and develop the skills. Hidden strengths I think is a great place to find opportunities for personal development, however, lasting skill development should not be understated, it needs to be practiced and practiced to get good at to truly develop into a strength that can be applied in one’s leadership. This is especially true since leadership skills reveal themselves often at the point of adversity and challenge.
The book is in three main parts to lead your through these discoveries and examples:
- What are hidden strengths?
- Finding your Hidden Strengths.
- Hidden Strengths into action.
So, overall I enjoyed reading the book. Its 78 pages is a pretty quick read and the free skills assessment with the book will have you thinking carefully about how you can too, develop some of your hidden strengths.