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Joe Folkman’s strengths-based leadership keynote begins with the idea that every individual, in some area of his or her life, struggles with “making it through” different lists. It seems to always be the case that there is too much to do and never enough time, which leads individuals to prioritize. The problem with this however, is that too often people misinterpret the importance of things, focusing too much time and energy on things that don’t really matter in the grand scheme of things.
Applying this to leadership, Folkman believes leaders today are focusing on the wrong things within a team, and hence hindering its overall performance. Folkman conducted a study, recording over 2,000 behavioral descriptions of different leaders. He found that many of the traits people would typically associate good leadership with—such as punctuality—didn’t actually matter in the evaluation of a strong or weak leader.
Folkman’s speech provides an interesting approach that forces leaders to reevaluate both their roles and priorities.