Working in teams is hard, and it’s difficult to pinpoint all the reasons why. I’m sure you have some ideas as to why – I sure do. Varying personalities, goals, passions, work styles, and so much more make teamwork challenging. While teams can struggle when priorities differ, there is also incredible value in recognizing the strengths of individuals to optimize the efforts of the team and create dynamic results.
There’s a great tool that’s caught on at work recently; the Gallup StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment. (The Chief Goodness Officer here at Good for the Soul knows this tool well – she shared her own experience back in January!) If you’ve never heard of the assessment, it’s worth a look, and more than that, a consideration as an asset to your personal and professional future. You answer a series of questions in split second time and at the end, and then you receive a custom report based on your top 5 strengths. I won’t oversell it here, I’ll just say, it’s been enlightening for me, and impacted the way our team works together.
What’s happened with the StrengthsFinder 2.0 outcomes for our team is this: it’s given our team a platform to openly recognize one another’s genuine strengths. Sure, it sounds like the outcomes could be pretty stale and obvious, but they’re not. Even if you have an overlapping strength with a teammate, your custom report highlights the variation in your strength given the order, makeup, etc., of your top 5. The results have also afforded our team an opportunity to speak frankly about what makes us tick, and what we see as opportunities for our future work model.
For me personally, this exercise has taught me a lot about trust and leadership. When leaders trust their team, they can more easily develop consensus for priorities and projects. When leaders allow their team to make decisions on the team’s behalf and team members step up to the plate to make decisions without having to confer with a team lead at every corner, the results can be vast! Shortened decision making time frames and more dynamic and reiterative outcomes are just a couple of the positives results. The best leaders don’t just lead; they empower. When you recognize your team’s strengths, focus on building trust, and tackle challenges through empowerment, in my book, you’re doing great things as a leader.