I was reading (and watching, it comes with a cool 20 minute movie on DVD) Marcus Buckingham‘s new book, “The truth about you“, this week. In it he explains how to find your strengths and exploit them and how to find your weakness and ignore them. As usual with books of this sort, you feel like what is saying is so obvious, you can’t understand how you didn’t think about it yourself.
This made me think – how many managers do you know, ask their team, on a regular basis, what are they strengths and what can they do to help them use their strengths more frequently? Buckingham talks in the book about the fact that most managers focus on your weaknesses and ask you to improve them, which is futile. But the problem is not only that managers concentrate on their team’s weaknesses, the problem is they usually don’t utilize their team’s strengths and they don’t talk about it with them.
As I mention in my my E-book, “Playing It to Excellence and Happiness in Real Life – Five Concepts I Learned by Playing Basketball, Working and just Living”, you always need to find new ways to use your comparative advantage. But more important, you have to communicate what that advantage is. Buckingham is right. No organization or manager will do anything in order to let you use your strengths. So you need to act – talk to him about it and explain yourself. But my question is – what if managers actually started doing it? do we only need to change the people, or can we also change the managers?
It is never to late to start. When was the last time you asked somebody what his strengths were and asked him what can you do to help him use them better?