Finding Team Strengths

I have just been reorganized for the fifth time in seven years at my agency. I have been inserted into a team of individuals from different silos of the organization that I have never worked with before.

How can we harness the unique strengths of these workers to maximize the impact this new team will have on the mission of the agency while minimizing their weaknesses?

Mind Gym USA a business that helps organizations harness soft power to produce results has some ideas on how to exploit team strengths.

Start over
Ask your new team to imagine they were creating a new agency. What skills, knowledge, abilities and competencies would they bring to this effort? What weaknesses would they bring to the table in the form of things they need to at a minimum, not get worse at?

Don’t obsess over weaknesses
Answer the question, “What would you do if you had an opportunity to do what you do best every day.” Solving this riddle is important for the team leader or manager since they tend to spend more time on performance management around direct report weaknesses as opposed to employee strengths.

Watch your biases
In allocating team strengths, we will be tempted to judge everyone on how good an overall player they are. Can they play several positions on the team? Zero in on each team member’s strengths. Creating an overall performance template may hide an individual’s talent and dilute their strengths.

Find the meaning
While the specific job descriptions for each team member may be defined up front, don’t let that be a barrier to helping your teammates find their personal path toward purpose and a brighter tomorrow. Mend and bend roles in a way where team members can be productive and at the same time stay true to themselves.

Play to your strengths
Dance with the partner who brought you to the party. Leverage the strengths on the team where the team becomes bigger than its individual parts. We are tempted to form teams by lumping high performers together. Fashion the team where the strengths and weaknesses balance out each other.

The best teams can answer the question, “Do I have an opportunity to do what I do best every day?” What would your team say?

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