At last week’s Independent Hotel Show Kate Nicholls, chief executive of UKHospitality suggested we stop talking about low skilled and high skill staff.
Everyone has skills, it’s just that different jobs require different skills. It takes a certain type of skill to run a busy bar, calm down an irate customer, service a bedroom in 30 minutes. These examples are in the context of hospitality, but whatever your industry I’m sure you’ll see the same principles apply.
Sadly, it’s often only when these people leave that we miss what they bring to the team. (….could that lack of recognition be the very reason they leave?)
When we don’t see individual skill strengths there’s a tendency to demand all-round competence in a job. As a result, development focuses on areas where a person is least capable with time and energy spent on working towards average performance.
Imagine what would happen if you were to focus on people’s strengths. You could help them go from strong performance to real excellence in their areas of greatest ability. How much more motivated would team members be if they could focus on what they’re best at?
Of course, in reality we can’t always let people just do what they’re best at, but we can at least make sure that they’re not always under pressure to improve what they’re worst at. A great team will have a balance of abilities and strengths so that people can contribute their best and don’t have to excel at everything.
Identifying people’s skills and strengths enables you to capitalise and build on these. This recognition means the team member can take pride in that skill. And knowing where you have strengths in the team can also help to identify ways to bridge any gaps you have elsewhere.
And in most cases
…the tasks people are good at are those they enjoy more, excite them and keep them engaged.
So, here’s an exercise you can carry out with your team to recognise their strengths.
First, make a list of the members of your team and consider each one personally:
- What is he/she really good at?
- What does he/she love to do?
- When do you see him/her working really well?
- What is his/her greatest talent?
- What do you like or value about this person?
- What do other people in the team value about him/her?
Now look at the team as a whole
- What is your team’s greatest achievement to date?
- What is the team really good at?
- When does your team work best?
- What do other people value about your team?
- Why do you enjoy leading this team?
- What are your team’s greatest strengths?
Having completed this exercise are there any strengths you’ve identified that you can capitalise on to bridge any gaps elsewhere?