Is Your Team Playing to Their Strengths?

The difference between good and great managers typically lies in getting their team members to play to their uniques strengths. Having someone do something that isn’t a strength for them would be like having an NFL quarterback play on the defensive line. They’d likely get hurt quickly and wouldn’t enjoy the game in the least bit. All to often as managers; we shoe horne people into jobs that don’t fit the individual and can’t figure out why that individual is underperforming.

Therefore, the key function of a great manager is to continually manicure and adjust their team members jobs so they can play more to their strengths. No matter how much trimming is done, there will always be parts of people’s jobs that they don’t enjoy, but ideally there’s much less.

In Strengths Finder 2.0, Don Clifton helps people identify their natural strengths first so they can figure out how to put them to work in their jobs. There’s actually a field of psychology dedicated to it called Strengths Psychology. A strength is only as strength though if you first enjoy doing and you are good at it. Some people like to say they have a strength because they’re good at it. That’s not a strength, just something you do well. Even though you do it well, it will likely drain your energy.

Marcus Buckingham the strengths guru recommends making a love/loathe list. The idea is to keep list of tasks you do at your job for two weeks. IE- check the mail, make coffee, do payroll, etc.  Then after the two weeks is up, review the list and identify which you love and which you loathe. Start prioritizing the loathe tasks as ones to delegate first. They’re likely the biggest energy vampires in your job.

Once you’ve prioritized your love/loathe list, ask yourself if this is a job that REALLY only you can do? Or could someone on your team do it better and it would fit their strengths profile. The jobs that you loathe or rank low on your list of love, and someone can do better are the first ones to handoff.