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How To Identify Your Employees' Strengths...and Put Them to Use

by American Management Association 3. June 2011 09:27


A large part your employees’ performance depends on how well their strengths align with their job and organizational goals. Truly understanding one’s strengths and playing to them requires a great deal of self-insight, commitment, and determination. As a manager, here’s how you can work with your employees to identify their strengths and see how they can contribute to the business.  

Ask critical questions. In an ideal world you could just ask, “What are you good at?” and your employee would effortlessly and eloquently divulge his or her strengths. Unfortunately, this is rarely the case. To understand which questions to ask you need to understand what you are asking in the first place. Strengths are the most defining, exceptional, and valuable qualities of one’s character. Your questions need to drive self-reflection. For example, “What are you passionate about?”, and “Looking back, can you identify your greatest achievements, and what strengths played a part in earning these achievements?” will get your employee to think critically about his or her strengths. 

Leverage these strengths. By asking questions, a dialogue has already been started—now it’s time to continue that dialogue and figure out how your employee could best leverage his or her strengths. It’s important to factor in organizational goals throughout this entire process as well. Be careful here. It’s very easy for your employee develop a big head during this dialogue. The dialogue should sound something like this, “How can your strengths benefit the company?”, not “How can we rearrange the company around your strengths?”



Thinking Management


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