Why Partners Need Complementary Strengths by Wagner and Muller

Today Debbie and I are helping people connected to Gateway Church in Austin maximize their relationships using their strengths.

Some fantastic research from Gallup has been shared in an article called “Why Partners Need Complementary Strengths” by Rodd Wagner and Gale Muller.

Here are some of their insights:

“The best [collaborations] happen when you and someone who has strengths that complement yours join forces and focus on a single goal. Your strengths cancel out your partner’s weaknesses, and vice versa. You accomplish together what could not be done separately.

Before you can forge a successful alliance, you must understand what you bring to the combination, and equally important, what you don’t. Collaboration is more than doubling up — more than just twice the oxygen or twice the acetylene. The key to achieving success is not trying to be someone else or striving to be as good as your collaborator at whatever he does best or seeking to be universally proficient. It’s in discovering your own exceptional abilities, recognizing your weaknesses, and understanding how someone else’s abilities complement your own.

Three of these statements emerged as the most important for determining how well your abilities mesh with those of your collaborator:

  • We complement each other’s strengths.
  • We need each other to get the job done.
  • He or she does some things much better than I do, and I do some things much better than he or she does.

Anything crucial to accomplishing the goal that one person lacks and the other has increases your rationale for working together. Sometimes what’s required is the difference in how the two of you think or act. One consistently sees the potential; the other routinely sees the risks. One generates ideas; the other puts them into production. One is good with technology; the other is good with people.

A successful collaborator must resist the ego-gratifying temptation to take too much credit. If a person honestly recognizes that his counterpart does some things much better than he does and that he needs the other person to get the job done, he is less susceptible to fall into the trap of conceit. In a strong partnership, both participants are always promoting the abilities of the other. They constantly speak in terms of “we” or “us,” rather than “I” or “me.”

So admit it: You stink at some things. You have blind spots, weaknesses, areas in which others seem to perform effortlessly while you struggle just to be average. You are also overly modest about your strengths. What seems to be no big deal to you is difficult for others. Your strengths are stronger and your weaknesses weaker than you realize. You need help. You are also precisely the help someone else needs.”

Read the entire article here or read more of their findings in the book Power of 2: How to Make the Most of Your Partnerships at Work and in Life by Rodd Wagner and Gale Muller.

To take Gallup’s StrengthsFinder online assessment, go here. You can get your top 5 strengths for $9.99 or all 34 strengths for $89.99!

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