Leading Wisely, Leading Humanely
Nearly all employees work on a team. According to ADP Research, in companies consisting of at least 150 employees, more than 80% of those employees work on teams. In these same companies, more than 70% of employees work on more than one team. What does that mean? Well, teams are important.
How well a leader utilizes their team’s strengths can separate a great leader from a good one. If this is done wisely, these strengths can be used to improve the individual employees, as well as the company as a whole.
Let’s look at five practices that make a difference when strengths are used wisely and how that can be done.
1. Determine the strengths of your team members.
Get to know your team members. You can use different assessments such as the Meyers Briggs, StrengthsFinder or Leadership Circle Profile. These assessments will give you a better insight into who your team members are, breaking these strengths down into specifics. Simple exercises such as writing down what you love versus what you hate can be useful as well.
2. Talk to your team members, get to know them, let them get to know you.
Aside from domain knowledge, talk to your employees in an open setting about what they enjoy while telling the same. Cover questions such as: “When are you at your best?” “What do you love most?” “Which activities do you find yourself looking forward to?” Let it be a natural conversation where you get to know one another. They need to know you as much as you need to know them. If you don’t open up, why should they?
3. Engage in sharing assessment results
Initiate a team share where individuals can share their assessment results in a group setting. Encouraging members to openly share their strengths and weaknesses will create an open conversation, allowing everyone to see themselves within the context of the whole team and promoting a step in the direction of trust.
4. Express your needs
It is important to communicate a clear message conveying your needs and expectations. Meaning, it’s okay to say, “I need your help,” or “This is what I expect from you.” Your employees crave a level of predictability that allows them to visualize a clear path of their role in the company. Let your employees understand you and the reasoning behind your choices.
5. Checking in
The work is constantly changing, making it essential for you to communicate with your employees weekly. This is where you will be able to see and evaluate how work and strengths come together. If you can guide an employee to focus on their strengths and to embrace and grow from mistakes, a stronger employee will result.
These are my five practices that will differentiate you from the other leader. To reach the maximum potential and efficiency of your team, you need to use your team members’ strengths wisely. After all, isn’t that was leading is all about?