Positive Leader

Positive leader – management must read from Jan Mühlfeit

Author is a Czech manager, coach, mentor, strategist. Because of his business results he was positioned into a role of Chairman Europe of Microsoft Corporation in years between 2007 and 2014. He spent 15 years in Microsoft top management and therefore was one of the closest colleagues of Bill Gates. As Jan once stated, he would work for Bill even if paid only a meal vouchers.


Only one from five employees use their strengths in their daily job. Jan therefore declares that the world economy is running only on one fifth of its potential. He stresses his belief that you get the best results as a leader only if you cultivate your employee´s strengths instead of compensating their weaknesses. Employees using their strengths are working in a flow state of the mind and are five to ten times more productive than others. In addition to that they are happier, healthier, more energetic and more loyal.

The same is valid for children education. We tend to work most on the subjects that our children are not good at. We as a parents see the bad marks on a school report and focus on improving that specific subject. Therefore, parents neglect the subjects their children are talented for. These talents have to be recognized and cultivated and most of the parent´s attention should be invested in them.

As a method of recognizing person´s strengths is recommended to undertake Gallup StrengthFinder test. Result is Top 5 strength in a basic package or a full list of talents. This test was undertaken by a little less than 20 million people.

Emotional intelligence

Another thesis is to handle your employees empathetically as opposite to the 90´s leadership style of madly shouting bosses getting in a short term great result from their employees but maintaining a culture of nervous breakdowns, overworking, low job satisfaction and stress. Emphateticall leadership style is in comparision building long term relationship with the employees and support their loyalyty to the company.

CEO = chief energy officer

Last point that is stressed out in the book is energy management. Life of productive work is not a sprint, it´s more like a marathon or more specifically marathon run in a form of series of sprints. It´s vital to manage physical energy for example by regular exercising, however to maintain mental energy is even more important. Author had a very vivid experience with lack of mental overload. Jan ended up in a mental asylum with extremely severe depressions and it took him many months of convalescence to recover. 

Jack Welch – Winning

In comparison to the Jack Welch´s book Winning, this book is much more focused on a person, on a team on a motivation, simply on a soft skills. Welch is much more focused on a company functioning, handling crisses, simply hard skills. And these two books are perfectly complementing each other and I recommend everyone interested in management to read them both.

Looking for strengths

Whenever I have a 1o1 with my developers I´m looking for a flesh of genuine interest in what they are just explaining. When this moment comes I try to expand the talk about this topic as much as possible and write down the notes. When a new project is in preparation I consult my notes and try to get the best people for the project in relation to their talents.

We as managers or parents should never stop looking for and evaluating of strengths of our employees or children. Then we should definitely spend multiple times more time on expanding the talents than compensating the weaknesses. That´s much easier said than done, but it should be some kind of a goal that we bear in mind and try to get as close as possible.

Read the whole story

If you got interested in the way Jan Mühlfeit thinks about management, you can buy the Positive Leader on Amazon.

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