“A general is just as good or just as bad as the troops under his command make him.” — General Douglas MacArthur
While the office and the battlefield may not seem to have a lot in common, General MacArthur’s words ring true for any form of leadership. Great accomplishments are rarely the product of one person. For every Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, and Warren Buffett, there have been countless teams of trusted colleagues behind them, working hard to ensure their vision comes true. While it’s impossible to predict who’s going to make a great team member, there are many ways to help bring the best out of your employees. One of the easiest ways to do this is by focusing on their strengths.
Getting More Out of Your Best
Gallup conducted a study on employee interaction with leadership and found the following about managers who focused on highlighting employee strengths:
- They were able to cut active disengagement down to 1%
- 61% of their employees were engaged compared to 30% of employees across the nation
When you consider that engaged employees are less likely to leave their jobs and more likely to put in extra work to help out the company without being asked, it’s clear that this type of management style has serious benefits.
Adopting a Positive Outlook
Even if we know that focusing on strengths is important, the question is how? Follow these suggestions to get on the right track.
- Hold regular meetings with your employees: A survey by Gallup shows that employees who regularly meet with their managers are nearly three times as likely to be engaged. Not only that, but the more you interact with your workers, the better you’re going to understand them and what they’re best suited for.
- Take a Strengths Finder test with them: Gallup has its own strength finder test, but there are plenty on more you can find on the web to see where talents lie. Even the Myers-Briggs can be useful, just to see how people approach situations in the workplace. These can provide a fun bonding experience for teams, though it’s important not to take them at face value, since you don’t want to alienate members who may not agree with the results.
- Ask your employees what they feel their greatest strength is: Sometimes it’s best to just be direct. Plus asking a question like this gives employees a chance to humbly point out what they feel they’re proud about at work.
- Tell employees what you think they’ve been doing great: Nothing inspires like positive reinforcement. Sitting an employee down and letting them know how much you value their skills is a great way to boost confidence and drive engagement.
If you want to build a team that believes in itself to get the work done and be happy doing it, one of the best tools you have available as a manager is positive reinforcement. Focus on and call out the strengths of your team members, and you can drive employee engagement through the roof.