Have you ever noticed how much easier it is to recognise the strengths of someone else than it is to recognise your own? We often find it difficult to notice our own strengths, it is easy to downplay, and we don't give them enough credit because it comes easily to us.
Whilst learning and utilising our strengths is important to development, the not-so-obvious truth is that learning your teams’ strengths can be an even greater superpower. There's something even more powerful about understanding the strengths of the people in your team.
By helping others in your team to identify and use their strengths, you benefit from increased productivity, creativity, and the confidence of others and increasing cohesion within the team.
“It is the long history of humankind (and animal kind, too) that those who learned to collaborate and improvise most effectively have prevailed.” – Charles Darwin
There are many benefits to identifying team strengths:
By tuning into others’ strengths, you sharpen your awareness of others. This improves your relationships and makes you more effective when collaborating on work.
You can delegate work based on the team's strengths; a mundane task to one person may become a fun challenge for another. Your awareness of your team’s strengths helps you to set your group up for success.
You can anticipate potential obstacles before they arise. Learning about your team member’s strengths can give you the knowledge and insight to identify and remove any potential roadblocks.
Research has demonstrated that team members feel less stress, as well as more energy and resilience when it comes to their work. Your team are more likely to feel engaged in work when it uses their skills.
Sounds like important qualities to bring to a team, right?
Although individuals need not be well-rounded, teams should be
– Tom Rath
Identifying strengths in others often requires taking the time to pay attention to the tasks they excel in; consider the common strengths running through these activities. Don't forget to recognise the things they do not get enough credit for. Staying curious is key.
Despite the various research fields related to body language, the most effective way of understanding others is to talk about it. To maximise chances of accurately understanding others, ask them:
What do you love doing?
What tasks come easily to you?
What things do you look forward to doing?
What would you like to do more of?
You can develop your awareness of others by helping your team to identify and use their strengths which equally has great benefits to you, helping you to achieve more and be more productive, as well as boosting confidence and cohesion in your team.
When we take the time to recognise our peers' strengths, we can all benefit in unexpected ways.