What Separates You?
It’s easy to ask a manager to identify an individual’s strengths and weaknesses, working genius and work frustrations. But, determining those traits might be a little harder. However, the importance lies in what a manager chooses to do with the answers. Drawing the line between becoming a great manager and a mediocre one begins with how you manage the weaknesses of your employees.
A mediocre manager believes everything is teachable. They think their job involves identifying employee weaknesses and eliminating them. The great manager knows that exactly the opposite is true. Great managers know that the most important qualities in an individual are unique to them and as a manager, their job is to enhance these qualities to drive performance up.
The mediocre manager is often suspicious of strengths, fearing that her employees will grow overconfident and arrogant, hindering performance. As a result, the mediocre manager communicates his exact thoughts regarding employee weakness and urges employees to take full responsibility for them in order to close those gaps. For example, a mediocre manager tells his or her employee exactly what they did wrong rather than reassuring the employee that they have the tools to complete the task and telling them how to fix it. Does that sound familiar?
Well, in contrast, a great manager is not concerned about overconfidence. On the contrary, their greatest fear is within themselves. The great manager worries they will fail to guide employees to utilize their innate talents toward furthering performance. With that in mind, they devote time challenging each employee to identify, practice and refine their strengths. A great manager may find themself rearranging the group to take full advantage of available strengths that may not be visible in an individual setting.
When success arises, the mediocre manager provides praise for the employee’s hard work in successfully confronting their weakness. But why is that bad? Well, the great manager aligns the success with the employee’s ability to use their strengths to accomplish tasks. The great manager emphasizes the success was inevitable and directly attributable to the strengths of the employee. Get it? Overemphasize strengths, not weaknesses.