“There is no substitute for accurate knowledge. Know yourself, know your business, know your men.” – Lee Iacocca
If our teams are going to succeed, it is because they have been set up for success. When a leader is not aware of a team’s strengths, weaknesses, and limitations, they are less likely to employ them accordingly, increasing their potential for failure.
When teams or individuals experience failure because their abilities and limitations were not first considered, it causes even more frustration and angst, which leads to decreased motivation and poorer performance. This is not to say that a leader can not give them a task that is beyond their capabilities, however this should be communicated and expectations should be set accordingly. In order for leaders to avoid these issues, they must first assess their teams strengths, areas where they will naturally excel; assess their weaknesses, areas where they experience greater difficulty; and then take measures to increase ability, training in areas of strengths and management of weaknesses, as well as reviewing and working through possible, future situations.
Assessing a Team’s Strengths:
- Strengths Finder 2.0 – This tool allows you to gain a perspective into a persons top five strengths. While the list of themes (strengths) is broad and general in listing, the assessment creates a unique report for each individual. Meaning two team members may have the same strength, but how those strengths are used and reported will be different.
- Myers Briggs – This assessment helps identifies a team members personality. While this may not seem like an out-right strength, knowing their personality will reveal in which situations they will most likely excel.
- DiSC – This assessment is another form of a personality test, however rather than sharing an individual’s personality type the DiSC assessment reveals how a person will operate and interact with in a team.
- One on One & Performance Reviews – While this tool will cover a multitude of needs, a one on one will allow a leader to assess where the team member is excelling and where they are falling behind. An aware leader should be able to decipher an individuals area of strengths through these meetings.
Assessing a Team’s Weaknesses:
- Identify repeated areas of struggle – If a team member is struggle to complete a certain task, it is likely there is a component of that task that is a struggle for the team member. Do not automatically assume that the given task is an area of weakness, but rather seek to pinpoint the area or areas of struggle. Doing this will help you better understand where to employ team members, where not to employ, or even to cut a member if their areas of weakness are a team’s core competency.
- Review personality assessments – Generally speaking, one personality is no better than the other. However, there will always be trade offs with a given personality. A person will be able to stay secluded and focused on a task, but will appear to be less of a team player. When we better understand team members personalities we will ultimately understand who they are, and who they will not be.
Take Measures to Increase Ability:
- Have a goal/growth plan – This will allow leaders and team members to set desired objectives and map out actions to be take to achieve growth.
- Identify possible hurdles – No path is paved with perfection. If leaders and team members can identify possible problems before they are problems, they will be able to create solutions to over come those issues, once they arrive with relative ease.
What have you done to effectively assess strengths and weaknesses, as well as increase overall ability?