Leading with your strengths

Much of what I’ve learned on this journey has led me to realise much it means to work in a team you love, respect and within which you are stronger together. I’ve been part and have led smashing teams and I’ve also been in ones where I didn’t feel so great – and in fact a couple of those were also teams where I once did feel great.

I won’t go into a whole leadership and team motivation here because there is a whole universe out there speaking on this very topic. So I’m just going to tell it from the perspective I know. That teams are way much better when they lead with their strengths. Thus, the foundation of Nerve is based on this principle.


If you’ve ever come across the Gallup Strengthsfinder you’ll already know what a remarkable and valuable tool it is. During my career I’ve done the Myers Briggs and a gamut of personality-type tests to assess who I am and how I work in a team but no other tool has influenced me more than Strengthsfinder. I’ll let you discover what it is – but in a nutshell, it gave me the liberation I needed to say ‘I’m great at these things, like really really good at them.’ It gives you various reports which help you enhance your strengths, identify who you should pair up with based on that busy also what you’re not so good at. It even identifies career paths that best suit you. Seriously. It was the single most empowering thing I could have done at that point in my career. And from that moment on I decided I’m going to focus on my strengths and I’m not going to waste my time focusing on anything else.

“Well how do you then get stuff done that you really do need to do yet it’s not one of your strengths?” I hear you say. Sure – there’s obviously still stuff I have to and need to do, like data analysis and number-crunching – in fact – I used to be a spreadsheet queen…a proper geek and supremo. It’s just not who I am anymore but I still do it.  My epiphany with Nerve came along with a reinforced realisation that I cannot do this alone. It takes that ‘c’ word – yep, collaboration. But – I don’t don’t just want to throw the word out there so flippantly.


Collaboration to me means harnessing the strengths – the, brainjuice, genius and super-power of those around you. Why? Because we want to make great stuff happen in the world, we want to make people’s live a little bit better and we want to feel really good while we’re doing it. When we lead with our strengths it makes everyone feel good. Everyone. There’s no threat or one-upmanship. We value each other and what each person brings to the table – their top strengths, as well as the other characteristics and qualities they possess. We recognise what we do to supercharge each other and therefore the entire team. We laugh and joke, hug and fistbump…and of course, wrangle and wrestle because it’s not always perfect. But underneath it all is love and respect. And I truly, truly believe that we ALL do our best when we are shine, when we feel good…and when we lead with our strengths.


Esther Kwaku