Organizations don’t grow from cutting expenses, and individuals don’t attain mastery by trying to mitigate weaknesses. Leveraging strengths is the only way to do either.
For decades Gallup scientists have been collecting mountains of data on the topic of leadership. They studied more than 1 million work teams, conducted more than 20,000 in-depth interviews with leaders, and questioned more than 10,000 followers around the world to ask exactly why they followed the most important leader in their life.
The researchers identified three keys to being a more effective leader: knowing your strengths and investing in others’ strengths, getting people with the right strengths on your team, and understanding and meeting the basic needs of those who look to you for leadership.
All this requires better talent assessment and a commitment to developing the right people for the right jobs. When you choose to do these things you’ll develop fierce loyalty among your subordinates- they will exhibit infectious enthusiasm for the work they do, and they will want to spend their careers growing along with your organization.
When your best talent doesn’t receive this kind of attention the opposite occurs- retention, productivity, and morale suffer. Talent assessment and development, however, is a misunderstood and much-underdeveloped skill among senior leaders. It is probably the most intuitive, the most complicated, and the least familiar skill that senior leaders need to possess.
Whenever you’re assessing strengths, you’ll need to carefully weigh the three constructs of talent: the aptitude to do the job, the behaviors that will ensure success in the job, and the requisite experience for success. A person’s behaviors and experience usually present themselves in the most obvious way-the aptitude appearing much later in the game, but the aggregation of the three explains an individual’s strength in a nutshell.
Monday Morning Perspective
“I am convinced that nothing we do is more important than hiring and developing people. At the end of the day you bet on people, not on strategies.”
Discovering strengths and reinforcing them involves more than a personality assessment and patting people on the back for a job well done.
It’s a powerful exercise that executives can use to help their best talent realize their personal aspirations, but it also provides a way to ensure the continuity of leadership and build the future of the organization in an intentional way.
Armed with the information to make these decisions, leaders can structure jobs and opportunities so people can excel and meet their potential; the organization can provide resources and training; bosses can continually monitor progress; and they can provide more meaningful feedback.
None of this happens automatically, however. You need to know how to recognize strengths and understand how to create a workplace that helps people operate at their very best and enjoy doing it.
What are you doing to develop the people on your team?
Have a wonderful week!
© Crystal Dyer 2012. All rights reserved.