It is natural to try to fit people into categories, and especially the folks you work with – they are great with numbers, or she’s an artist, or he gives terrific presentations. There are personality profiles such as the DISC profile, which will define you as dominant, influencing, steady or consistent or Meyers-Briggs, that will refine your style to things like introvert/extrovert, thinking/feeling, etc.
But do you discount or overlook a person’s other skills or talents because you have tucked them into a particular pigeon-hole?
For instance, I am a high high C on the DISC profile and an ESTJ on Meyer’s-Briggs, which means that I am highly analytical and detail oriented. I fit very neatly in that category and thrive in very structured environments creating lots of plans, lists and guidelines.
And yet, I have an artistic side with my writing and graphic design. What wildness is this? Maybe I don’t fit so neatly in that structured category after all.
Have you done that with your team members?
Don’t get me wrong – I definitely agree with working within someone’s dominant personality style, but I think it’s important to remember that they may have other qualities as well. And we shouldn’t just assume they are only what they project most often.
Here are some ways to explore your team members’ strengths and better utilize their skill sets:
- Evaluate – find out what your team members’ strength areas are and under what conditions they work best. But also look at what their secondary areas of strength and interest. Ideally, this should have been determined before you put them in their position, but at least make sure they are in a suitable work situation.
- Talk – ask what parts of their job your team members enjoy the most, and what other areas they might like to explore.
- Observe – when does your team member excel, but also, when does she light up? What really brings a smile?
- Challenge – challenge your team member to find ways to utilize their other strengths. Are there other areas of your business or organization that could benefit from even a short term project using their other strengths?
The best leaders don’t just rely on the primary strength areas of their team members, but know them well enough to develop their other areas of passion as well. Imagine how much more successful your team would be if team members contributed all of their assets. And how much happier!
How can you expand the effectiveness of your team by using all of their strengths?