Tuesday October 16th, 2018
Every office is comprised of a diverse pool of unique talents and personalities working together towards a common company goal. As a leader in your company, it can sometimes be difficult to manage the strengths and weaknesses of each member of your team in a way that manifests the highest level of productivity and success.
Many employees tie their level of productivity to their level of satisfaction with their job. Feeling valued as an employee, while also feeling challenged and excited by the work they are tasked with contributes greatly to the overall feelings of satisfaction your employees may feel and encourages them to do their best work.
The secret to unlocking the potential of your team lies in recognizing and capitalizing on the unique strengths that each person possesses. By tapping into each employees’ personal strengths, you will be better able to place them in a position in which they can excel and enjoy. When all your employees excel individually, the team thrives as a whole unit.
But how do you spot talent in a busy office? Here are four questions you should ask about each employee to have the best understanding of where they belong within your team.
What Are Their Strengths and Weaknesses?
The first and most obvious questions to ask when trying to capitalize on what your employees do best are simply what do they excel at and with what do they struggle? If you’ve been working with your team for an extended period of time, you’ve probably had opportunities to see them in action. Perhaps you’ve seen them show enthusiasm for some projects more than others, or perhaps they’ve communicated concerns over tasks that don’t come easily to them. Make note of these observations and look for trends that can show you which projects are bringing out the best and worst in your employees.
Beyond just observing and keeping your own records, it’s important to talk to your employees and get their feedback as well. Ask them what they struggle with - whether it’s due to lack of experience, training or simply lack of interest. Find out what makes them feel like they are able to shine. Their insights will go a long way to help you hone in on where they belong in the company.
So much of what we do at work is impacted by how we feel about the job itself. If the work is monotonous, we dread heading into the office every morning. If the team has a weak link, we resent having to carry the heavier work load. Alternatively, when we are doing something we love, we can’t wait to get into the office every day and feel fulfilled by our jobs.
Consider this when trying to make the most of your team’s unique talents. Don’t just ask them about their strengths. Ask them what they love. Find out what makes their minds race, what gets them excited to come to work every day and what they look forward to doing in the future.
You’ll be amazed at the increase in productivity that you’ll witness by simply ensuring that each member of your team is truly passionate about their work.
Just as you’ll need to observe the strengths and weaknesses of your employees, it is also important to monitor the working relationships they develop. You want to create an environment that is conducive to higher productivity and efficiency levels but sometimes personalities just don’t mesh to work towards that goal.
Keep an eye out for tensions between coworkers, people who struggle to communicate effectively with each other or employees that just don’t work well together for any number of reasons. You may also want to consider coworkers whose productivity slumps when they are around each other simply because they get along so well and tend to get distracted.
Your goal here should be fostering an environment that allows each individual to do his or her best work by limiting distractions and disruptions from coworkers.
Finally, one of the best ways to capitalize on your employees’ strengths is to reward them for great work. Encourage the behavior you want to see more of and demonstrate your appreciation for employees who go the extra mile by understanding their currency. What makes them feel appreciated? What motivates them to push themselves and strive towards excellence?
The best way to know the answer to those questions is always to ask. Show that you care and appreciate your employees by asking what they would find meaningful or motivational. Don’t just reward your employees by tossing a gift card or two in their direction. Get creative with your rewards – perhaps offer a work-from-home day for those who demonstrate excellence in their work, or casual Fridays for the team that consistently gets the job done. The possibilities are limitless, and your employees will be much more motivated to perform when you’re offering them something they actually want.
Ultimately, these questions all come down to one very simple concept: get in the trenches and get to know your team. Don’t lead from a distance and pass down orders from your corner office. Get to know the individual talents you are fortunate to manage and set them to work in a way that excites them and motivates them to do their best work for you.