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5 Ways to find your Team’s Strengths


Many managers may assume that the people in their teams would prefer to work less, but the reality is that many people would in fact like a more challenging role or job. A survey by global talent mobility firm Lee Hecht Harrison found that 62% of people surveyed feel they are often under-utilised in their jobs, with 24% saying they do sometimes. This may be because some of them are over qualified – a study by economist Richard Vedder, from Ohio University, found that almost half of working Americans with a college degree are in jobs that don't really require a degree. Take, for instance, retail sales staff – it found that 25% had a bachelor's degree in 2010 as opposed to fewer than 5% in 1970.

Even if the team you're leading is deemed 'over qualified' you should still try to match people in your team to work that best fits their skills, and most importantly their strengths, so that they feel fulfilled, challenged and energised. Workers who are unchallenged are often unhappy and produce low scores on Employee Engagement assessments and surveys. But the survey doesn't really matter: these unhappy, unfulfilled staff perform averagely at best, and are likely to leave at the first opportunity of a better role, so it's in your best interests to keep them challenged and engaged. Performance will improve overall, and that's before you consider avoiding the time and cost of recruiting new people...

Here are some tips for finding and making the most of your team's strengths.

Take Time to Get to Know Your Team

Just because someone is employed in a particular role, that doesn't mean they don't have other talents. For instance, I was employed as a PA for many years, but I had written for an internal newsletters in the past and when my then boss discovered this she allowed me to do some writing for marketing material and web pages. This allowed me to expand my role and be happier in it and ultimately led me to where I am today. Try to encourage social activities such as team lunches, after work drinks and activities, even away days, and spend some time talking to your team to find out what they love to do outside of work.

Use a Someday/Maybe List

We like productivity guru David Allen's concept of a 'someday/maybe' list, which consists of good ideas that perhaps you won't try today, but you might at some point. Think of interesting projects or leads that it would be fun for your department to pursue and ask your team members to add to it too. Then develop the discipline of pulling these projects off the list occasionally, and assigning them to team members with talents you've identified in that area.

Say Yes, a Lot!

If you have a team member who proactively approaches you to propose a project or new task, it's likely that they are searching for a challenge. Take the chance to give them that opportunity whenever you can, assess the pros and cons and give them a yes whenever you can. Even if it's just on a trial or 'see how it goes' basis.

Give them Freedom

Allow team members a little more autonomy and authority with each project they undertake. Giving them real responsibility – and the chance to succeed, or fail – makes people feel valued and often brings out the best in them.

Train Them

Investing time, and money, in your team's strengths will also make them feel valued and supported. If it's really a strength of theirs, it is the area in which they are going to be able to excel most quickly. If you have someone in your team who seems talented at giving presentations for instance, send them on a presentation skills or public speaking course. If you have someone who does a lot of writing for your website, invest in a writing for the web course. Most people want to do a great job and continuing improving their skills and will relish the chance to do that with your help and support.

If these tips whet your appetite, get in touch with us as our products and services can build on the above and help your team be the best it can be.



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