Understanding and Capitalizing on Individual Strengths
When you have a staff with a wide range of abilities, you can make sure every task is done efficiently and enthusiastically. Using people for what they are best at makes them feel valuable, and is key in retaining employees for the long term.
An effective manager will work to support weaknesses and leverage strengths. It is important to put effort into enhancing employee’s strengths by giving them roles that allow them to exercise these unique abilities. As important as it is to build your employee’s strengths, they will undoubtedly have weaknesses you will need to compensate for. You can do this by helping them improve on their weakness, and by using other employees to do what they cannot.
The Whole Picture
You build your workforce as a whole, not by how promising an individual seems. If you interview someone for your sales team who has mediocre people skills, but has great technical skills, you would not necessarily hire them—at least not for your sales team. If their technical skills were valuable to your business then perhaps you would, but you would not hire them just because they have a valuable skill. Everyone is good at something. The question is: is the skill any particular person excels at going to benefit your company and fill a void in your team? Hire based on how an individual will complement the rest of your staff. Aim to create an unbeatable whole with members who can compensate for each other’s weaknesses.
How to Work With What You Have
If you already have a team with unknown strengths and weaknesses, then you can dramatically improve the team by finding what your members are good at. You can do this simply by asking them. Based on what they think about their abilities, give them tasks they will excel at. See if their abilities match their beliefs, and go from there.
Work with your employees to set dates and goals to improve a specific strength or weakness. Help the employee create a plan to meet the goal. This might include on-the-job training, special projects, training classes, a mentoring program, rotation of assignments, or online training. Allow for cross training with other veteran employees in order to develop strengths and buffer weaknesses. Often enhancing existing members’ strengths through pairing complimentary skills does a lot to overcome imbalances. If in the end, an employee’s best skill does not meet your needs, selecting other people better equipped to handle their position might be best.
Develop a Winning Team:
- Hire diverse talent with strengths that complement your existing staff.
- Determine the right people for the right positions and projects.
- Delegate tasks to the individuals who can successfully execute them.
- Know your employee’s weaknesses so you can compensate for them.
In the End
It is your responsibility to guide the development of your employee’s strengths and to determine how best to compensate for their weaknesses. Every organization has a diverse mix of people. Your challenge is to mold a team that can achieve a specific purpose. This is best accomplished by assigning positions, projects, and tasks based on employee strengths, while adjusting for individual weaknesses.