While many are preparing their home gardens for winter, teams need to be cultivated at the office year round.
Bringing Out the Best in Your Talent
Recognizing talent in new and existing employees is an essential skill for managers at every level. This does not refer to interpreting skills listed on a resume, but the aptitude to recognize and draw out hidden skills and talents within your staff. To effectively learn this skill, one must retrain how they view their staff and potential candidates.
The conventional management thought process is the biggest barrier to discovering hidden talents. Existing staff and new hires are typically pigeon-holed from day one. A person is hired for a specific job that possesses a specific skill set with specific tasks. They might be part of a team with their role also determined by their job description. Since this has been determined since day one, management tends to only see the employee or the position in this manner.
To bring out the best in your staff, you need to spend time learning more about them. Watch how they approach and work through a task. See how they interact with others in the office. Take note of how their workspace is set up and kept. Looking beyond an employee in a specific role, and seeing them as a person, can shed new light.
Neale Donald Walsch said “Life begins at the end of your comfort zone.” This is especially true when it comes to interacting with current and potential employees. It is human nature to connect primarily with others that are most like you. We tend to avoid prolonged interactions with people who we feel have radically different views.
By stepping out of your comfort zone and really seeing past your biases, you may find that those with differing views or traits have the most to offer. Cultivating an appreciation for those who are different from you will help in all aspects of your professional and personal life. This is not always easy, but certainly achievable if you learn to listen with an open mind. You may be surprised to find that the employee or candidate that you avoided happens to be your best talent.
The attraction of like minds not only applies to one-on-one interactions. Teams also seem to be comprised of several people who have the same work style or thought processes. This can make for an effective team dynamic, but sometimes it’s good to mix things up. After all, according to international best selling author Bill Treasurer, people don’t learn in their zone of comfort. Look for ways to bring people together who do not normally work together. Introduce unlikely combinations of staff through an office social event or casual meeting. Keeping it informal at first allows all involved a chance to get to know each other in a relaxed setting. Subsequently changing up the groups can yield positive rewards for everyone. Ginny Rommetty, CEO of IBM, stated it most simply, “Growth and comfort don’t coexist.”
While cultivating talent does not require a green thumb, it should compel you to slow down and really see your current staff and even potential candidates. By looking beyond pre-determined perceptions, you can more effectively draw out hidden abilities. This way of managing will positively impact your team, and enable you to see your staff and even yourself in a different light.