Successful Managers Focus on Employee Strengths

strengthsWhen you go to work do you have the opportunity to do what you do best every day? If you answer yes to this question you may be one of the  30% of Americans that is fully engaged in their work. That is to say you’re probably invested in and enthusiastic about the work you do and thus act in a way that furthers the interests of your organization, colleagues, and customers.

But what does it mean to do “what you do best” every day and how do you as a leader work to ensure that the people reporting to you have that opportunity as well?

Getting to do what you do best every day means getting to do work that aligns with your skills, talents, and interests. Managers that work to understand these unique characteristics within each employee are taking a strengths based approach to management, a strategy strongly recommended to increase employee engagement.

Strengths-based management does not mean that you isolate employees from those parts of their job they find challenging or less appealing. When employees have daily opportunities to apply their strengths and talents it creates a joyful work experience. For the employee it’s clear they are contributing and they develop an emotional connection to their work, organization, teammates, and customers. That intrinsic connection is where discretionary effort comes from- the inclination to give full effort and do whatever needs to be done. And when circumstances call for the employee to take on challenging responsibilities or handle situations outside of their comfort zone they are confident and invested enough to do so willingly. Focusing on strengths doesn’t remove challenges for the employee…it positions them to navigate them successfully.

When managers take the time to learn what each individual person brings to a team and then customizes elements of their job role accordingly, they are setting them up for success. During your next round of one-on-one conversations with employees ask them the question: Do you get to do what you do best every day? Why or why not? Let their answers and the subsequent conversation be a springboard to strengths-based management.

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