Teamwork is the cornerstone of every successful company, and knowing the value of evaluating your team’s strengths is paramount. Knowing your team’s strengths—and how to play into them—will lead to increased productivity, efficiency, and enjoyment for those on the team.
Evaluating Your Team’s Strengths
Understanding the complete picture of your team’s skillsets will allow you to play to their strengths. But this isn’t a one-question task, and it may take some time to reveal. The effort is worth it, and, in the end, you’ll cultivate a high-functioning team with quality outcomes and limited conflict.
1. Ask Teammates What Their Skills Are
The best starting point is with team members themselves! Most self-aware colleagues will clearly communicate their strengths, while others will share past feedback they’ve received. As a leader, you’ll need to assess their inputs and determine their strongest qualities.
2. Engage Teammates for Collaborative Strength Sharing
Build team camaraderie and pride by engaging your team in a collaborative strength sharing session. Have teammates make notes on their peers’ strengths and share relevant examples. If a group session doesn’t feel right, ask for anonymous submissions that can be shared one on one or during team meetings. Even for the self-aware, there are qualities only another party may recognize or consider important.
3. Compare the Feedback
Take your own observations into account and marry them to the team observations. Note the similarities and differences, as well as any gaps you may deem important. Don’t forget to account for different personality types and how they may interact with others.
4. Understand Outside Interests
Interests and hobbies outside of work say a lot about a person and can provide insight into areas a team member may enjoy at work. Get to know your teammates in a less formal environment. Invite them to a casual lunch or coffee break and talk about non-work topics. Ask some leading questions and then let them run with the direction of the conversation.
5. Make Your Own Observations
Keeping in mind the self-perspective, outside perspectives, and broader interests, sit back and observe. Take the sideline and see how your employees interact. In meetings, stay aware of who is engaged, who is dominating, and who is quiet. In day-to-day work, objectively observe behaviors and interactions.
6. Align Team Tasks Based on the Complete Picture
After determining each team member’s strengths, think about how those strengths can play into each other. Align colleagues to tasks or projects where they are likely to excel and pair up teammates who’s strengths complement each other.
It’s Not Just Strengths
Strengths are one piece of the puzzle that makes a successful team. Challenges, otherwise known as weaknesses or opportunities for improvement, can leave gaps in your team. Follow a similar approach to that outlined above to identify the challenges a team member may face. Then find ways to offset those areas, whether partnering teammates that supplement each other or offering opportunities to upskill. Challenges shouldn’t be all negative—we can’t be experts at every little thing!
Continuing the Process
Your team will morph as it forms, grows, and adapts over time. Team members will grow into their roles, gain new skills, and may continue their education causing a shift in their greatest strengths. It’s a continuous process to evaluate, manage and lead your team, making adjustments that continue to support a positive team dynamic. Keep our tips in mind for continuous evaluation throughout the year.
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