Leverage team member strengths and divergent thoughts: Tap into individual passions to drive results

Teams are only as strong as the diversity of their members—from all aspects, including age.   I have observed poor managers and leaders who cast their teams based on how “alike” members were to self.   They sought members who were mere automatons.  I think the correct words used to be “yes people”.   These are products of fear-based leaders—do what I say or the highway.

On the other hand, I have seen extraordinary leaders who go to great lengths to develop their teams much like a chef would do when creating a salad with all the colors, textures, and tastes.   This type leader looks for and appreciates the diversity in peoples’ life experiences, skill sets, personalities, and thought processes.  They value and leverage divergent thinking as a necessity to creativity, innovation, and team success.

Once the great leaders have their teams, they learn as much as they can about each individual—not just at work, but they ask “who is this person?”   What fires his passion?  What is she interested in?   Get to know your team members, their families, and call them by name.   Assess individual’s innate talents?   If you are able to leverage an individual’s innate talents, you fire passion.  Passion creates energy and excelerates team performance.

I recently observed a manager working with her team.   She spoke of how different each team member was, and the strengths of each.  She did not criticize either, only spoke to each member’s strengths.  She then talked about how she leveraged each individual’s strengths when making special team assignments or when another team leader needed assistance.  For example, one member is great at coaching; she has a passion for helping others succeed.  One is highly tech-literate and likes to navigate the most complicated search engines.  Another is highly energetic and a great spokesperson—a motivator.

By tapping into individual strengths, she is able to fire the passions of each. Employee satisfaction is higher.    Ultimately, she helps everyone maximize their potential, and consistently arrives at results more easily.

As a leader, make it a point to find out who your team members are.  Get to know them as human beings who have souls, not just a name on an organizational chart.   An organization is not just a tangible thing.   It is made up of people who have hopes, dreams and desires.  Once you recognize this and aspire to help your people—all your people—achieve their dreams, you will achieve extraordinary results.

Copyright © 2011 by Patricia Hatley

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form by any electronic or mechanical means including photocopying, recording, or information storage and retrieval without permission in writing from the author.

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About Patricia Hatley

Patricia Hatley is a leadership author, researcher, speaker, trainer, consultant. We provide resources to empower people to empower others. “Inspired leadership elevates everything!” With a graduate degree in strategic leadership, primarily transformational leadership, Patricia Hatley is a leadership researcher with a concentration on 21st century intergenerational leadership, author, consultant, and teacher. Patricia is an intergenerational pro with over 30 years experience leading teams in corporate and non-profit environments. In December 2012, she retired from a 42 year career in the corporate environment to concentrate on this project. Her books include: (1) “4 Generations @ Work: Leading from Conflict to Collaboration,” (2011) based on research conducted within a Fortune 500 company and across all industries, is a study of generational preferences and values and how to effectively integrate all into any organization. (2) “Three Things All People Want,” (2014) which reveals how to inspire people to engagement by tapping into three basic human needs; and (3) “Digital Grenades: Explosive and Corrosive,” (2015) which deals with inspiring people to engagement and high performance when most interaction is across a digital platform via some kind of digital communications, i.e. email, social media, texting, etc . (4) “4 Generations @ Work: A Case for Empowerment,” (2015) a revised and expanded version of her first book 4 Generations @ Work. Patricia’s fourth book is a self-help book for anyone to use to develop a highly engaging workplace, for anyone. It provides information, based on recent and life-long experience:  How to develop an empowered culture, and why such a culture is critical to success today and even more so over the next decade;  “The Trust Factor” importance and basics;  “The Power of Ask,” what it is, how it works, and how crucial it is to success;  “Listening to Understand” basics;  “Integrity today” what it looks like and why it is different and crucial to success;  “Diversity and Inclusion,” what it looks like today, why, importance, and how tos;  Five generations: Intergenerational values and preferences, creating understanding, reducing conflict, engagement, etc.;  The Plurals--She introduces the next generation to flood the work force, the Plurals. Plurals are different than any generation yet, but require many of the same things in the workplace that their colleagues, the Gen Ys, do.
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