The greatest leadership challenge is usually the following three things:
- Getting to know your people.
- Understanding what their talents and strengths are.
- Aligning your work processes and assignments to best fit the unique personalities of each team member.
In the work that we do at CoreFocus, we address each of these things. We dig into each person’s talents, natural wiring, and strengths – including the team leader. When these things are understood, work can be aligned more effectively to each individual and they can be more productive and engaged. This allows them to step into themselves and contribute in the way that fits them the best.
What do employees want from work?
The two primary things that employees want to feel when they come to work are that they are valued for who they are and that they can accomplish what they set out to do.
When you feel valued for who you are, it exponentially opens up your appreciation for the environment that you’re in, and the people that you work with. When feel seen and known at work, you are engaged and excited about the tasks that you’re doing and feel that your contribution is valuable. When this environment is in place you’re able to accomplish much more.
Your employees are the same way.
How do we create this environment?
It’s difficult to be a fly on the wall in your employees’ lives and to see everything about them. When someone new joins your team, you do your best to interview them, to find references, to learn about them, and to place them in the role that would appear to be the best fit for them. But sometimes, as hard as we try, we don’t get the right fit from the beginning.
There is only so much we can actually know about a person when we haven’t spent much time with them or asked them the right questions that get down to the core of who they are. Sometimes, that learning takes a bit of time.
Often our employees themselves don’t even fully understand or know their talents and strengths, and it takes being asked thoughtful questions or being put in different situations for them to discover them. It’s just not possible for us to understand everything about an individual on our own. We can barely understand ourselves. But we can begin to understand individuals much more effectively if we have data to help us.
This work helps us get to the core of our employee’s strengths and talents, without fumbling around for a long time, trying different tactics or combinations, before finding something that works. It allows us to spend our time coaching our team members on how to use their strengths, instead of wasting time with people in roles they aren’t suited to. It allows our teams to have the best chance to function at a high level of productivity and satisfaction.
Real-World Leadership Challenge Example
I worked with a leader whose biggest leadership challenge was struggling with an individual on her team. The team member was in an individual contributor role, but she wanted to do more. She was very good at interacting with others and was constantly engaging people under the radar, out of the eye of the leader, to work on things. She was spending a lot of time counseling and offering perspective to others. She was getting her job done, but she seemed to appreciate and enjoy doing these other things that weren’t in her job description much more.
As the organization leader and I went through this work, it became clear that this team member had a talent called individualization. She is uniquely able to see the brilliance in each person and what makes them special and unique.
There was a team leader role available and this person had applied to be considered for it. The leader knowing her talent mix offered her the chance to step into that role. Almost immediately after taking on her new responsibilities, this team member began to coach her team even more effectively. The organization leader was completely blown away by her natural ability to lead.
Just by taking an assessment and learning about the mix of talent on the team this leader was able to promote someone into a role that fit them much better than being an individual contributor. Knowing this team member’s strengths made it easy to see she was the ideal person for this role.
This leader could have stumbled around and maybe found this out on her own. It might have been successful. However, even if she had, her team wouldn’t have been as successful as it became because now the leader could coach this team member to use her individualization talent and coax it out even further.
As a result of this knowledge and coaching, this team was one of the most engaged and productive teams that reported to this company leader.
Over time this organization leader was able to do this with each of her other teams. In turn, her interactions with her reports were more productive, because the leader knew how they liked to be approached. She also discovered her talents and how she liked to be approached, which improved her engagement and productivity at work.
Use the data and create success!
It’s all data. It’s all information that’s readily available.
It’s all information that helps you, as a leader, understand your people more effectively and align work and processes in a way that allows people to be the most successful they can be. It creates strong teams that function well as a unit because each member is doing what they do best.
You’ll find that your employees are happier and more engaged because they feel understood, valued, and appreciated. In turn, you’ll see increased productivity because everyone will be doing the work they are best suited to, in an environment that allows them to thrive.
If you need help with a leadership challenge, I’d love to talk with you and help you find the approach that will work best for you and your team. You can reach out to me and find out more about Core Focus here.