The Truth About You

The Truth About You is the latest strengths based leadership book from Marcus Buckingham.  It was an easier read, but it had a lot of great practical application.  The book comes with a DVD, which has a short movie about strengths, and a “Re-memo” pad for capturing both strengths and weaknesses.  This interactive experience involves more nuts-and-bolts practical application, which distinguishes it from many leadership books on the shelves today.  Lots of books dump a mount of information on you, but don’t encourage you to do anything with it.

Below I’ve listed his main ideas:

  • Performance is always the point:  Don’t expect your organization to know you like you do
    • In most cases the only interest they have in your strengths is whether or not they enhance your performance for the organization.
  • Your strengths aren’t what you’re good at, and your weaknesses aren’t what you’re bad at.
    • Buckingham wants to correct the common misconception that if you’re good at something is must be a strength.
    • His definition of a strength is any activity that makes you fell strong – i.e when you’re done you feel fulfilled, focused, in the zone, and time seems to pass quickly.
  • When it comes to your job, the “What” always trumps the “Why” and the “Who”: So always ask, “What will I be paid to do?”
    • Once you know the “What,” then compare it to your actual strengths before making the decision.
  • You’ll never find a perfect job:  So every week, for the rest of your life, develop a strong week plan.
    • Strong week plan – pick out two things you are going to do to put your strengths into play each week and attempt to implement them.
  • You’ll never turn your weaknesses into strengths:  So fess up to your weaknesses, and neutralize them.
    • Once you’re clear what they are, you’ll have to deal with them.

If you’ve read Buckingham’s books before you’ll probably find the material to be a summary of his strengths teaching and similar to GO! Put Your Strengths To Work.  This book is an ideal introduction to strengths based leadership for those who have never read any of his books before, and also ideal for high school and college students.  I wish someone had exposed me to these concepts much earlier in life.  You can preview the book here, or purchase your own copy here.

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