Encourage Your Team’s Strengths

It is easy to see the weaknesses of your team. Sally may not be the most organized. Jim may be late 20% of the time. And Bob… don’t even get me started about Bob.

We are trained to look for the weaknesses of others. We need to see the weaknesses of others. If we don’t, how will we know what to work with them on to improve?

 

But what if we’re looking at things the wrong way? What if by focusing on your team’s weaknesses, you’re hurting your team?

It’s not a what-if scenario. It is a truth.

By focusing on the weaknesses of our teams, we’re hurting them. We’re constantly reinforcing what they’re doing wrong. They’re not dumb. They know the areas they struggle in.

Jim knows he’s constantly late. Bob knows he causes frustration in the office. And Sally knows she’s not organized.

You and I don’t have to point these weaknesses out. What we need to do is downplay the weaknesses of our teams and encourage the strengths of our team.

Encourage Your Team’s Strengths

While our team members often know their weaknesses, they can struggle to realize their strengths. People have a hard time seeing what they do well. Why?

Our natural skills and abilities, the things we excel at without thinking, are hard for us to see ourselves. I think of my proficiency in the Information Technology world or the way I interact with others. These activities flow from me. They are things I do without a second thought.

When I am asked the question “What do you do well?” I freeze. I stutter. And I don’t have an answer.

My natural strengths and giftings don’t come to my mind. The reason is confusing but makes sense.

I forget what my strengths are because they come easily to me.

 You forget yours as well. So does your team.

Everyone has a hard time seeing and realizing their strengths. This is where you can do something great.

Watch your team members. See where they work naturally and get the most done. Study their work habits and what activities seem to flow from their hands.

BOOM! You’ve now seen a strength.

We’ll go back to Sally. Sally is disorganized. However, she is extremely creative. She designs the most breathtaking infographics you’ve ever seen. Her work tells the world how much she loves to create graphics that tell a story.

Now that’s a strength you should be encouraging.

Or Jim… He’s always, always late. It’s frustrating but you notice he closes more deals than anyone else on the team. He has a knack for relationships and he’s able to earn the company more than the bottom 3 salespeople combined.

Now that’s a strength you should be encouraging.

How To Encourage Your Team’s Strengths

Black headphones with a sign saying Be Proud Of How Hard You Are Working

Photo by Emma Matthews

We need to be aware of our team’s strengths. We also have to be willing to encourage our team members when they’re working in their strengths. How do you encourage your team member’s strengths? By doing the following:

  • Publicly praise team members for going above and beyond. Let the organization know how well and what Jill did. Publicly encouraging good behavior will see good behavior repeated.
  • Drop notes of praise anonymously. What’s cooler than getting a little Post-It Note with a word of encouragement? I can’t think of much better than that. To get a note saying someone noticed what you were doing goes a long way.
  • Send a letter to a team member’s spouse. Okay, I admit. I can think of something that’s better than personally receiving a Post-It Note recognizing my strengths. What is it? It is having my wife receive a note thanking her for letting the organization use my strengths (and naming the strength) and taking time away from my family. Honoring a spouse and letting them know what your team member is doing will blow their mind.

Let’s begin a new trend. A trend that notices weaknesses and takes action but one that also notices the strengths of our team members. Let’s look for ways to encourage them to continue their amazing contributions to our organizations.

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