Leadership Expectation: Support Personal Development
We’ve spoken at length about recognizing and leveraging the strengths of our team members, but what does that mean? How do we determine a person’s strengths, let alone “leverage” them?
It starts with relationship-building. As we build professional relationships, part of our getting to know one another must involve making note of self-reported best qualities (what others think they are good at) as well as observed performance (what we have evidence that they are good at). The four most common and useful strengths are: Communication Skills, Planning Skills, Problem-Solving Skills, and Tenacity.
Communication skills are not always easy to teach. Some folks are inherently good communicators and others are decidedly not. Placing a good communicator in connection with an under-communicator can often help the under-communicator to improve.
Planners and note-takers are typically undervalued, but these folks are necessary, especially for complex projects or long-term goals. They are also typically good at keeping track of progress and seeing the big picture where others may only see the parts relevant to them.
Problem-solvers think outside the box, and when you find yourself stuck in one, you will be grateful for their ability to find solutions to problems that allude the rest of the team.
Tenacity is a latent skill that doesn’t show itself until it is needed. Tenacious employees rise to the top when the going gets tough. They perform well under stress and often do their best thinking under difficult circumstances (when the planners start to lose it).
Finding the strengths of our team members is an important part of developing them as individuals, because it shows us what types of tasks will help them grow and which ones will give them the opportunity to shine. Development is a balance of validating the skills they already have while pushing them to try new things.
Start now by building relationships and getting to know what those around you are doing well. Make note of when they ask for help and what those tasks are. As we build these strengths profiles for those around us, we can open ourselves to finding the right balance of tasks to lead our employees to become better versions of themselves.
Finally, personal development mandates that you also make a list of your own strengths. What are you good at? What do you struggle with? Where do you have room to grow? Learning to recognize and leverage your own strengths will show you best how to do this for those around you.
Tip #9: Find the balance between doing what you know you are good at and trying something new.
Bonderud, D. (2018). How to identify and leverage employee strengths. Spark.