I’ve worked in many organizations where it’s quite standard to set objectives and review progress once or twice a year; however it was more uncommon to have a development review.
Quite often in these types of reviews are tick box exercises where we are asked to think about areas we can improve on. In my experience, I found that the recommendations made by my manager tended to be in areas that were not my key strengths.
Whilst it’s great to learn new things and attain new skills, we have to be true to our authentic selves. For example a creative person would not be motivated by having to learn accounting skills because it’s not their strength. They would perhaps agree to the training but would not excel because it doesn’t tick their fulfilment boxes. As a result this could demotivate them. An alternative could be to give them support in that area or training in the basic accounting skills.
It’s really important for managers to understand team member’s strengths and to maximise potential in those areas, otherwise it can lead to demotivation.
To maximise the teams overall performance, it’s key that each member also understands what strengths each other member has.
This is where the art of delegation and assigning the right challenge to the right team member comes into play. As a result each member is playing to their strengths and feeling motivated and included as a result. This is the foundation for building successful teams that achieve results. It creates a culture of helping each other as people recognize each other strengths and are happy to help.
“I’m a team member feeling frustrated about being given the wrong tasks.”
If this resonates, take control and arrange to have a development meeting with your manager. It doesn’t have to form part of the formal process. Just make sure your manager knows what the meeting will be about, a good way to do this is to list the areas you’d like to discuss in a meeting invitation. Alternatively, if the culture is not that formal, invite your manager for a coffee chat as you’d like to talk through development.
During the conversation discuss where you think your strengths lie and ask for feedback. Be open to constructive feedback, but be objective and try and see your manager’s viewpoint. They may just inspire some extra development in those areas.
Bring up the areas that frustrate you and ask who can support you. Sometimes you can’t escape those tasks in your job, but you always have the option to ask for help.
Knowing what your areas of development are, and communicating them with your manager allows them to be informed so that they can pick up on opportunities as they arise.
“I’m a manager and I don’t think I know my team’s strengths.”
If this is you, then arrange individual development reviews with each of your team members. Find out where you think their strengths are and have an open discussion about how certain tasks in the role could aid further development in those areas. Perhaps there is a conflict and you can offer feedback on where you see that individual’s strengths and how you see them being maximized.
Find out how they are feeling generally and if they have any frustrations. The individual will only open up if they are in a safe and confidential environment and feel that they trust you. Be clear on how your team view you as a manager, feedback here is essential.
If there are areas you know the individual is either underperforming or is struggling, try and find out the cause of this. It may be because it’s not their strength, or they may be dealing with a colleague who is uncooperative. There is always an underlying cause that has a solution.
Don’t leave it there, have regular catch ups and allow the relationship to flourish. Yes, it means making time, but in the end it will benefit you all and the results will speak volumes.
Positive relationships require effective communication and trust as a foundation. Through dialogue and body language we can learn so much. When did you last take time in a team meeting to observe the behaviours? If something isn’t quite right, there is a reason behind it. Keeping lines of communication open, building trust, recognising and maximising individual strengths will lead to results!
If this resonates with you, feel free contact me for a complimentary 30-minute clarity call, where we can talk about your particular situation and see how I could help you.
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Believe you can!