Our teams work better when they like what they are doing. Here’s how to create it.
Updated: Jan 19
One of the challenges with our modern workplaces is that jobs often include many parts that pull us away from our strengths and passions, which has a knock-on impact on our wellbeing and engagement. I am not suggesting we focus only on our team’s strengths. But instead, consider the missed engagement potential that runs within organisations by not connecting our people to projects that they would enjoy and are likely to excel at. In a practical sense, we still see so many organisational silos, and we rarely see effective and embedded collaboration and crossover reach full potential.
Often, we see more focus on weakness fixes rather than strengths, by focusing only on weakness, we run the risk of lack of engagement and contribution. However, in contrast, the use of strengths can lead to higher levels of job performance and positive feelings. It has also been suggested that employees who used their strengths were more engaged and satisfied with their work.
This in part continues on from our recent article on hindrance and challenge demands. Ultimately we have a job as a leader, which is to help our people get to their true selves at work. It is worth reflecting on how many of your past leaders have actively looked to identify your strengths, and then proactively worked with you to align them to team projects. Better yet, you can probably remember a job when you felt significantly unaligned to what you genuinely enjoy doing.
The good news is that we can do something with this, and you don’t need to be a company exec to progress it. We can make work more meaningful with our teams.
Firstly, have you understood your team’s talents, strengths, passion, experience, knowledge, where they get joy at work from, and what their ambitions are. This needs to be from them, not your bias! There are plenty of strength assessments available online, or better yet arrange for an assessment. Take your time with this, and really get to know what is important for your team.
Check again, are you on the same page with your team with the above?
If your team was asked, would they agree that the organisation supports them to use their strengths?
Consider if there is job-person fit, do they use these strengths day to day or do you need to create the opportunity?
This is where you can get creative and design in! We are often faced with more than enough work to go around, and if you look hard enough, you can usually find the right project for your team to get involved in. Better yet, is it something you can create with them and establish a network for the team to work in? This is a continuously evolving exercise; it takes refinement. You can scale up or down depending on how the team is getting on.
Put simply, look to connect your team’s talents, strengths, passion, experience, knowledge, joy at work, and ambitions to meaningful work.