Strengths based development is nothing new in sports coaching and development; you don’t train someone with a talent for sprinting, how to be a marathon runner. You identify what someone is good at then in the case of a sprinter you develop and coach them to get better in order to get quicker.
Yet as leaders in business, we have possibly all been managed by someone who will look at a development plan as an instrument to develop weaknesses! This flies in the face of research that shows that when you manage people who are using their strengths they will be up to 23% more productive, they are more likely to stay with the company and be true advocates for that company. If they are more productive and engaged they are less likely to be absent from work. All of these things have the potential to add to your bottom line.
If you don’t believe me, simply reflect on what percentage of your strengths you use at your work then think about what you could do at work if you used more of your strengths.
Ok, you say thats great in theory, but how do you do it?
Get to know your team
1. Use a Type indicator e.g. MBTI, DISC etc. They give an indication of how people like to communicate with the world, what energises them. They aren’t about skills you say, and you would be right, however, it will help you and your team enhance how you understand and communicate with each other, but also what gives them energy and energy at work is golddust!
2. Find out what their values are, not the companies. People are more and more looking at the purpose of their / their companies role over and above the ‘widgets’ they produce. This is especially true of Gen Y and they are if they are not already the future of your company. Help them link their values to working in your team.
3. Get everyone to do a SWOT analysis and do one for the team. Strengths, Weaknesses (what they are not good at but can do) Opportunities (strengths they haven’t as yet been able to utlise in the team) Threats (things they don’t like doing, arent that great at doing and developing these skills will be a waste of everybodies time)
4. Development plans – Concentrate on developing Strengths and Opportunities. Only develop anything under the other two headings if they are crucial to the role.
5. If you can allocate work according to strengths then do so in a fair way.
6. Review, reflect,give and receive feedback on a regular basis about how it is working.
It would be great to hear your thoughts on Strength based development, so feel free to comment.
Hope you have a fantastic weekend
Finally, as a tradition on my site I like to add a TED video.
Simon Sinek has a simple but powerful model for inspirational leadership all starting with a golden circle and the question “Why?” His examples include Apple, Martin Luther King, and the Wright brothers
If you hire people just because they can do a job, they’ll work for your money. But if you hire people who believe what you believe, they’ll work for you with blood and sweat and tears.” (Simon Sinek)