In the last few days in class, we have been going through a phase of self reflection. This phase included surveys, inventories and questioners, as well as group discussions and self reflection, both written and mental.
The last day, our facilitator presented us with the following graph:
The basic idea is to think about our parts in teams and later about our jobs and pinpoint actions we employ daily to their respective places on the graph. I think this is a very simple but usable tool in order to self reflect.
But looking at it, made me think about how managers can use this. Because of this simplicity, managers can use this simple tool to know a lot more about their employees.
I believe good managers should focus almost all their efforts on helping people find their strengths and concentrate on them, because this is the way to help people truly excel. As I elaborate in my e-book, I believe people can achieve remarkable accomplishments if they focus on their comparative advantages and use them constantly.
Thus, great managers should focus their time on their employees’ strengths instead of focusing it on their weaknesses and areas of improvement. That said it is important to understand that there are different kinds of weakness and different kinds of strengths.
If the weakness is a result of insufficient knowledge or skill, then the manager role is to supply the knowledge, teach the skill or get the employee to learn the skill from an outside source. This is true in a limited number of cases. Sometime people feel incompetent and dislike certain actions, because they don’t know enough about them and never had proper training although they truly have a talent for it. In addition, most skills can be learned to a certain degree.
But in order to excel in certain skills you need talent. And different people have different talents. And with talent I mean not only to quality of being good at something, but actually having the right mental state and the natural inclination for certain skills. And most of time, this talent, if used correctly, can help overcome any weakness much more efficiently then dealing directly with the weakness. Therefore, when a manager recognizes a weakness he should explore which kind of weakness it is and if training or knowledge will help the employee overcome it.
On the other hand, many times as managers, we perceive strengths of people but forget to ask them an important question: do you enjoy doing that role/action? Because some people are really good at something, but they hate doing it. if they don’t feel good when they are doing it, when they don’t reach a state of flow, than they would not be able to that for a long time and they would not be able to truly excel. And what great managers do is find ways to make their employees excel.
So, where are your employees’ actions, skills and talents on this graph and how can you move them to right side of the graph?