We each have both strengths and weaknesses in every job we do. Our strengths are the things we are naturally good at and the weaknesses are the things we can only ever make limited progress in. The aim of understanding people’s strengths and using this knowledge at appraisal time is to help people excel.
Here are 7 ways to play to people’s strengths. Don’t miss this!
1. Help people to discover their strengths
Most people do not know what they are naturally good at. They either don’t believe they are better at something than others, or they have been led to believe that they should be good at a range of things regardless of their personal talents. Awakening people to their inherent strengths can be an eye-opener for many people. In a time when the main competitive difference between organisations lies in the contribution of your people, it is one of the key duties of the modern-day manager.
2. Get people to appreciate what they are good at
If you want to discover what you are uniquely good at, find answers to the following 5 questions:
- a. what do you love doing?
- b. what things come easy to you?
- c. what things do you look forward to doing?
- d. what things do others say you do well?
- e. what tasks make you feel good?
3. Build on people’s strengths
The astute manager does two things at performance review time. First, they get people to identify their strengths from reviewing past performance. Then they look for ways to get the person to do more of what they are good at. In doing this, managers get both superior performance and motivated employees.
4. Combine people with complementary strengths
People sometimes wonder what makes a winning team. The answer almost certainly lies in bringing people together who have complementary strengths and are allowed to do work that uses their respective strengths. So, in a good team, you can have a natural-born leader fighting for the team; a natural-born grafter who likes to do the donkey work; and a natural-born coordinator who has a gift for creating team spirit. Then, all you have to do is to let them loose on the things they’re good at.
5. Get people to excel
When you get people to do more of what they are naturally good at, you work with people not against them. It is like paddling a canoe with the current rather than against it. When you allow people to go where their natural gifts take them, they do all the running because they want to. You’ll quickly discover that people do what they love and love what they do. And, in performance terms, they’ll excel with surprising ease.
6. Help people discover their weaknesses
Just as there are indicators to people’s strengths, so there are indicators to people’s weaknesses. If you want to discover what your weaknesses are, find answers to the following 5 questions:
- a. what do you dread doing?
- b. what things do you put off?
- c. what tasks rarely get easier?
- d. what tasks provoke anxiety in you?
- e. what tasks make you feel inadequate?
7. Manage the weaknesses
Many managers want their team to be good all-rounders. But this is a mistake. First, you divert people from their strengths. And second you waste time trying to turn weaknesses into strengths. Weaknesses will always be weaknesses whatever you do. It is like forcing rabbits to swim, (they hate it), instead of developing their skills at hopping, (which they love). Instead, manage the weaknesses, either by limiting them to the bare minimum or by giving them to someone else for whom they are strengths.
There can be no greater service you can do to someone else than to help them discover their strengths and then build on them. It is like discovering diamonds in rocks and polishing them until they sparkle
Author Credit: Eric Garner is a highly experienced coach and trainer with a knack for bringing the best out of individuals and teams. Eric founded ManageTrainLearn in 1995 as a corporate training company in the UK specialising in the 20 skills that people need for professional and personal success today. Since 2002, as part of KSA Training Ltd, ManageTrainLearn has been a major player in the e-learning market. It has now taken its place as one of the best companies in the world for producing and delivering quality online management training products.
Find out more about managing people by reading Garner’s free eBook “Delegation and Empowerment”.
Download “Delegation and Empowerment” right here