Titles aside, the vast majority of working America are both 1) managed and 2) managers in some form or fashion.
Last week our office welcomed Heather Hollick, Leadership and Team Coach, to speak at a monthly Lunch and Learn. Ms. Hollick has an impressive background which can be found here. The topic of discussion was cohesive leadership.
A resonating thought from the discussion was the reiteration of what we already know, but seem to often ignore - a strong manager does not attempt to conform her or his people. Instead, a manager should utilize the strength of each team member. It’s not rocket science, but people are happy doing what they are good at doing. And when we can be ourselves, we can be our best.
A manager also benefits, as the team member’s value-added resources can be easily captured. Further, the manager is better able to assess potential talent gaps and fill such gaps as necessary.
Of course, this is not to say that people cannot develop new strengths. Managers should understand what new skills each employee wants to learn, and empower the employee to attain these new skills over time.
To the Managers - Do you have your people in the right role? Do you know what motivates your people? Do you know what they believe are their strengths? How do the strengths they determine line up with the strengths you see in that person? Do you know what they want to learn?
To the Managed - What do you consider to be your strengths? What do you want to be your strengths? Are your skills being utilized? After some thought, be assertive, get on your managers' calendars, and discuss these topics. If the conversation doesn't go well, good chance you should try to find something else.