I’m often asked to review books and share an assortment of news releases. So when something comes through that I think will be useful I use the space here to let you in on what I’ve learned. So it was with some delight that an email that arrived today had some simple yet solid tips for enhancing productivity.
They come from Sue Bethanis founder and CEO of Mariposa Leadership, Inc. She wisely suggests that instead of focusing on an employee’s shortcomings and weakness companies should consider identifying a person’s strengths. Sounds obvious enough, but what probably gets lost is when managers try to discover those strengths. So before offering her tips I would add that supervisors first need to know how to identify both strengths and weaknesses and address both, but differently. Yes, too often a manager focuses on a worker’s mistakes, especially if a mistake has resulted in a major problem, one that requires a lot of fixing. Unfortunately those same managers might even come to expect more mistakes from that employee, never even bothering to look for strengths that can be refined.
It’s true that no one really enjoys having his or her weaknesses put under the spotlight. Of course that’s likely to happen if a manager begins to expect bad things to happen. That’s where attitude comes in. I do believe that some people are simply programmed to find fault. I try to stay away from them. But that’s not always easy, is it? The point is this: even if you have a manager who’s adept at finding fault you can try to redirect the focus toward your strengths, those attributes that brought you to the company in the first place.
As you begin to think about what you’re really good at, consider these four tips from Bethanis:
1. Identify your strengths – Identification is a critical first step. To get an accurate picture assess yourself, then interview your boss, and those you work with.
2. Be an opportunist – Find opportunities to begin applying your strengths to your work. If the opportunity doesn’t currently exist, what can you do to create one?
3. Hire for your weaknesses – You can’t be good at everything. Hire people smarter than you are and who certainly are good at skills you’re not!
4. Get a coach! – Coaching is one of the most effective ways to identify and apply your strengths. A good coach brings important resources and skills to help you create a lasting roadmap for success