January 5, 2016

HBR: strengths-focus may backfire

A new article by Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic (photo) in Harvard Business Review says that strengths based coaching may backfire. The article says that the strengths-based approach has become a very popular approach about which many books have been written. An exponent of this popularity is the Gallup questionnaire StrengthsFinder. The article makes the following five claims about the strengths-based approach:
  1. There’s no scientific evidence that it works
  2. It can give people a false sense of competence
  3. It leads to resources being wasted on C and D players
  4. Overused strengths become toxic
  5. It doesn’t address the real problem workplaces face
While I don't think all these arguments are equally convincing I am also skeptical about the strengths-based approach. At first, around 2003, I was charmed by the approach but around 2007 I began to doubt its scientific substantiation and usefulness. Here are a few articles I wrote about it: 1, 2, 3, 4.

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