Strengths and weaknesses play an important role in determining who we are, both for employees and project managers.
- How to find out the strengths and weaknesses of a Team: Be up-front and honest
- How to find out the strengths and weaknesses of a Team: Listen and observe
- How to find out the strengths and weaknesses of a Team: Internal competition
- How to find out the strengths and weaknesses of a Team: Communication and company intranet
Strengths and weaknesses are vital because they help to decide which career paths to follow, which roles would be better to play and how to behave in those roles.
From a manager’s point of view, simply motivating a team in the classic way sometimes it’s not enough. The real secret to unleashing the potential of each team member and each team is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the members of your team.
This information empowers leaders to make smarter job decisions, provide more effective performance reviews and ensure that every employee can grow and succeed.
However, strengths and weaknesses are often relative and employees alone do not know how to spot them and, above all, how to exploit them. It will be the Project Manager to have to fill this gap by performing one of the most important and delicate tasks assigned to him:
How to find out the strengths and weaknesses of a Team: Be up-front and honest
Employees are often asked what their strengths and weaknesses are during interviews and performance reviews, but these answers are rarely reliable.
Attributes such as “results-oriented” can be vague and employees can only boast artificial strengths to increase the chances of a promotion or positive feedback.
Once the manager shows his or her most human side to employees, they are more likely to be honest about their strengths and where they are struggling.
An open, direct and honest conversation about strengths and weaknesses is a great way to start.
And why should we wait for the performance review meeting to launch the dialogue window?
Managers can foster a supportive environment every day of the year by expressing their strengths and weaknesses themselves and then inviting employees to do so.
The goal is to developing employees who know what they are good at and what they need to work on.
Managers should recognize employees to be honest, even when they make mistakes.
How to find out the strengths and weaknesses of a Team: Listen and observe
When working with the same people on a daily basis, it can be difficult to view them objectively.
Rather than a strength or weakness, you only see how a person behaves normally.
So you have to change the perspective: for example, if someone in the team is known to be always in a good mood and friendly, it could also be a natural diplomat.
Furthermore, weaknesses may not be blatantly obvious, for example, an employee who seems calm may actually be apathetic, disengaged and unassertive.
As a manager, you can only understand the distinction if you see people acting differently in a different environment.
Managers should therefore make an extra effort to consider each employee as objectively as possible and in a broader context.
Brief notes describing how employees behave on a daily basis can be a good way to look for key patterns and characteristics.
How to find out the strengths and weaknesses of a Team: Internal competition
Competition is an effective way to make the best (or the worst) of employees emerge; it is a powerful motivator and can raise strengths and weaknesses in a qualitative and quantitative way.
Hosting competitions within teams and/or between organizations can be a fun and effective way to see who is a natural leader and who excels in certain areas. You may also want to read this Talent Management article in this regard.
This can be as beneficial in general as specifically: if you are trying to figure out who is the best person to lead a new project, why not run a contest to see who possesses the required skills?
In addition, a friendly competition promotes teamwork, which in turn will help increase team productivity in the long term.
It will certainly not solve the main problems in the workplace, such as lack of intrinsic motivation, employees poorly or erroneously assigned to certain roles or confusion about the overall business environment.
How to find out the strengths and weaknesses of a Team: Communication and company intranet
Company social intranets contain an enormous amount of valuable information about employees’ strengths and weaknesses if you know how and what to look for.
Managers can watch and monitor user activity to learn more about them.
- What kind of content do they publish and what does this reveal about their interests?
- Do they often ask for help or seem confused about something? This could be a sign that they need further training or personal attention.
- Are they more talkative in the intranet than in real life or vice versa?
- What does the tone used say about their personality? Maybe they are better at writing, rather than verbal communication, or maybe they are shy when they are in front of a large group.
Social intranets can also provide insights about employees’ networks and relationships, as well as their attitudes to work. Corporate intranets can also give an insight into the company climate and organizational well-being.
Collecting these insights and information does not mean that the work is over.
Once the manager has identified the strengths and weaknesses of his or her employees, we will move on to the stage where these will need to be exploited to keep everyone productive, involved and working consistently as a whole.