I recently graduated from Brigham Young University. During my last semester, I took an interesting class called “Communications Management: Principles and Theory.” On my first day of class, my professor explained that this class would cover essentially everything that doesn’t get taught in a normal Communications Major class.
Throughout the course, we talked about everything from leadership to finances. I learned a great deal from this one class. One of the most key takeaways was learning about the strengths of an individual and how each person’s strengths can contribute to a team. Every person has their own key strengths to bring to the table and if you can highlight everyone’s strengths, your team will get solid work accomplished in very little time.
During the first week of class, we were told to take a StrengthsFinder test. This test tells you your five top strengths so you can focus less on your weaknesses and more on your strengths.
My specific top five strengths are: ideation, communication, empathy, woo (winning others over) and positivity. So what does this say about me? My focus should be towards being creative, communicating with and helping people in the work force. This also tells me that I probably wouldn’t be super effective in a work environment where there is very little collaboration.
In my class we did a lot of team building activities. We would pair up with different teammates and at the start of each activity we would go around and tell each other what our strengths are. Then we would find out the instructions of the activity and, according to everyone’s strengths, we would decide who will be doing what in the activity.
By doing this, everyone excelled in the activity and we were able to accomplish the task every time. At times, however, teammates didn’t seem to care about everyone’s strengths and just jumped right into the project without including everyone else. Every time this happened, the team was unsuccessful and were unable to complete the task at hand in a timely manner.
By taking the StrengthsFinder test and having your employees take the test, you can gain insight as to whether each individual is working to their potential and if they are in an environment that helps support their strengths. With a few small adjustments, your team could be much more successful than it is now. It is worthwhile to have your employees take this test in order to assess how each person is using their strengths in their job.
You’ve gathered test results of everyone’s strengths, or maybe you did your own observations to assess their strengths. Now you have to figure out ways to inspire each individual employee to use their strengths. Sometimes a person might know their strengths, but be unable to use them effectively. As a leader, it’s important to inspire individuals to use their strengths to the best of their abilities.
One of the easiest ways to inspire the individual employee is to have a monthly meeting to discuss their progress. You can sit down and discuss with them their goals and strengths, and how they feel they are using their strengths to accomplish their goals.
I had a boss that would sit down with me about once a month and go over some of these things with me and it helped me see where I can improve and when I was actually making a difference in my job. This doesn’t have to be a long meeting. Simply sit down for about five to ten minutes and let your employee talk about their progress. Here are some questions to get you started:
If you feel you don’t have time to individually sit down with them, you can send these questions by a monthly email so you can be aware of their progress without having to take too much time. Be sure to respond to their emails so they receive affirmation that you care about what they have to say.
By communicating with them about their progress, they will work harder to accomplish their tasks and be more likely to come up with great ideas that will help the business grow.
By knowing everyone’s goals, you will be more aware of when they are using their strengths more effectively and accomplishing their goals. It’s so important to notice when they are doing well.
A lot of times, employees will be working really hard and get no recognition for it. They start to pucker out and quickly realize that nobody seems to notice. They slowly learn that they can do the minimum requirements to get by. By noticing when your employees are working harder than normal and praising them for it, you will inspire your employees to work even harder.
Maybe some of this advice is hard for you to do naturally. This is where the StrengthFinder test can help you. Take the test yourself and go through your strengths to figure out what you can do to help inspire others.
Maybe you don’t have a lot of natural people strengths, but you have great management strengths. You can use those management strengths to outsource to someone who does have great people strengths and have them talk to your employees and report the results to you. Whatever it is, any effort made to inspire others to use their strengths effectively will greatly benefit your business.
By taking the steps needed to inspire each individual, your team will be able to work more efficiently and effectively which will in turn help your team accomplish more tasks in a shorter period of time.