StrengthsFinder at Work – For Managers (part 2)

In our previous post, we discussed one strengths-based strategy for managers to use strengths and StrengthsFinder as they manage their teams. Today, we’ll share a second strategy.

Strategy 2: Tailor Teamwork to Individual Strengths

When people take the StrengthsFinder assessment, or do their own self-discovery to figure out their strengths, they likely felt empowered  – they discover what they are good at and sense the opportunity to use their strengths more frequently.  As a manger, you have a great opportunity to help your team members modify their daily activities so that they can use their strengths more frequently.   Here are a few scenarios you may follow as your tailor your team to individually use their strengths more often:

Scenario A: Team with Varying Types of Work Activities: Specialize Roles Based on Strengths

If your team has a variety of work activities they are responsible for, you may have a good opportunity to assign individuals to more specific roles based on their strengths. 

To do this first identify the various tasks, roles and deliverables your team is responsible for. (Examples: task = cold-calling, Role = coordinator, Deliverable = client proposals.) 

Next, assess how different strengths on the team are best suited to specific tasks, roles and/or deliverables. (Example: Wooers and Achievers excel at cold-calling.) 

Finally, assign team members to the right tasks, roles and/or deliverables based on their strengths. (Example: Thomas (Analytical) and Peter (Communication) will review all client proposals.)

Note – the Team Building Strengths Toolkit gives you the tools to have a strengths-based team building session with your team.

Scenario B: Teams with a Narrow Set of Activities: Limited Options for Strengths Specialization

If you manage a team where all the individuals do the same task with little room for variation, you’re limited in your options.  Fortunately, you have a couple of powerful options: giving responsibilities and understanding motivations.

Giving Responsibilities:

This means creating opportunities for individuals to use their unique strengths to improve the systems, activities and products owned by your team.  For example, a person talented in “Communication” should take the lead revising product literature, descriptions or sales scripts used by a sales team.  Another team member who is a talented “Arranger” should be given the opportunity to improve the flow of work within the team or department.

Understanding Motivations:

This simply requires you to understand how different strengths have ways of being used in the same job.

For example, five different call center employees all must follow the same procedures and scripts.  But one employee with “Woo” as their strength may enjoy the interactions with callers, while another with “Competition” may be energized by striving to exceed company goals.  A great manager of strengths will take the time to understand those differences and create opportunities for each employee to use their strengths in their work.