Quotes like this tend to make me stop and reach for an index card, thank you Jon Acoff for that tip. How often do we judge our children’s grades by the subject they do the worst in? How often do we think employees are not doing well at work because they can’t complete certain tasks as well as others? We often believe everyone should know what we know and do what we do but do we ever stop to think about what we can’t do that they can. Each person has talents and personalities that are unique.
Picture this for example. While strolling through the park one day a group of us encountered a young child barely walking across a small bridge. She was alone. As parents we all looked around for where her parent could be and then when no one was to be found we helped her back over and went on looking. We never left her side until the mother was located. I could write an entire other post on how NOT appreciative the mother was but we will be nice and stop there.
Then of course there was my favorite older woman that I encountered while at a family event. She stood up and yelled at me while I was talking with my family and said I need you to be quiet, maybe quiet was not the word, because she couldn’t hear the BINGO numbers being called on the other side of the room.
Each of these examples represents two very different types of people. Stop and think do you need both kinds on a team? Do you need some nurturers and some very verbally honest people? Most of us would say yes within reason. You need to utilize both of their strengths and if at all possible not ask them to play reverse roles because most likely they will fail or become defeated over time.
We live in an improving upon our “areas of opportunity” versus a “building on our strengths” kind of world. Listing to a Marcus Buckingham Catalyst speech from 2006 really spoke this message even louder than usual to me. This concept seems simple yet in real life we rarely carry it out. When someone doesn’t understand something after a million times of explaining it we think what is wrong with this person. When our children don’t do well in a subject we tend to put all our effort into helping them with this subject. These routines tend to carry over into our work life.
So what can we all do about it? Challenge your thinking. Before you think why in the world is this person not figuring it out, think what can they do well and how can I utilize it. Break your goals and tasks up according to people’s strengths. A collective team working on things they enjoy and are good at is much better than a team who prays for 5 p.m. to come along. Will this work all the time, of course not but it sure will help build a better team than the one you might have now. It also will help others see you as a respected and trusted manager.
My challenge for you is to start looking at things a little differently on the teams you work in. You can even do a few of these in your home life but I might stay away from number 5 with your family and friends. They may think you are a little odd if you suggest this one.
- Start by asking what they enjoy or what they think their strengths are.
- Ask them what they don’t really enjoy doing or what they are not the best at.
- Build into their strengths and spend a lot less time on their “areas for opportunity”.
- Learn to read facial expressions. For some help check out Vanessa Van Edwards.
- Invest in an assessment for each person on the team.
- Pick out a book for everyone to read and talk about it.
- Start finding ways to help them play to their strengths on the team.
- As you learn more about each person adjust your approach accordingly.
- Think about if there is a key strength missing from your team.
What is one way that you help lead or build into others strengths? Comment below or share your thoughts on social networks.
And just because I know if you can master this you will be HAPPY.