Imagine what life would be like if the world was full of only chefs.
Every child would be born with a bowl in one hand and a whisk in the other. We would learn to flambé at the same time we would learn to walk. Every man and woman would graduate from culinary school to serve in the world’s finest dining establishments… every meal would be a five-course spectacle.
There’s only one (huge) problem…
If there were only chefs, there would be no farmers to harvest their ingredients…
no drivers to transport the food, either…
no inventors to design or manufacturers to produce their cooking equipment…
no decorators to furnish or managers to run their restaurants…
and no finance officers to make sure anyone got paid for their trouble!
And that’s just in the dining industry – there would be no travel, no housing, no medicine, no technology, no government… (which, I suppose, means not politicians – so maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all!)…
Of course, this is a pretty far-fetched idea. The idea of trying to run the world with only one skill set is preposterous. The world we live in only works because people are passionate and knowledgeable about everything from engineering to esthetics. When it comes to skills, diversity is strength.
And yet, we as corporate leaders do not always think to make diversity a strength on our teams.
Of course, as we hire, we fill roles with individuals who have the skills necessary to fulfill those roles. But beyond our titles, there are other skills necessary to help a team and organization succeed: emotional intelligence, intellectual curiosity, strategic planning, problem solving, adaptability, communication, implementation…
If we are all great at solving problems, but no one is communicating, we will find ourselves with more problems to solve.
If everyone is curious but no one can implement suggestions, nothing will ever change.
In other words, someone on your team is the best chef in your department – but you need farmers, delivery drivers, inventors, manufacturers – and so on, if your team is going to succeed.
As business professional Ken Blanchard once said, “None of us is as smart as all of us.” And I’ll add to that, none of us is as effective, emotionally intelligent, adaptable, practical… as all of us can be when our strengths are combined strategically.
So as a leader, how can we make the best use of the strengths on our teams?
1. Leverage assessment tools for better understanding.
Knowledge is power. The better we know our team members and what their strengths are, the more effective our strategy can be. Assessments like the Maxwell Communication Impact Assessment can gauge employees’ strengths and blind spots and provide invaluable insight to leaders. Use these tools at regular intervals, like each quarter, to adapt progress plans.
Plus, one Gallup poll indicated that just knowing what their strengths are can improve team members’ productivity by nearly 8%.
2. Create strengths-based project teams.
That same Gallup poll also found another simple way to improve productivity: encouraging a team to focus on their strengths can improve their efficiency as much as 12.5%. When team members have tasks in their strength zone, they lean in – they take ownership – and other team members are freed up to do the same.
3. Implement a blind spot “buddy system.”
Growth happens faster when it’s not happening in a vacuum. Leaders can pair team members together with other team members who complement their strengths and supplement their blind spots so that they can not only work more effectively together, but learn from each other, as well.
Your team is already diverse. Are you using that to your advantage? You can take the Maxwell Communication Impact Assessment here to find out – or you can book a stratgey call, and together we’ll put a plan in place that leverages your team’s abilities for the best.
That’s all for now. 🙂
Become your best version,