Maximizing your Team’s Superpowers

As project managers, or team leads, we frequently get to know what our team members are good at, and what they are not - over time.  Their characteristics and working styles may vary, but each will have his or her own way of getting things done, and there will definitely be environments in which they excel, and other situations that they would love to run away from.

It is interesting that it doesn’t really matter what your specialization, that this will occur.  And many behavioural, working style and personality-type tests that have been developed to attempt at categorizing personnel - MBTI, DISC, EQ, etc.  I have taken many of them over the years, sometimes for work, and sometimes out of curiosity too.  I like to see how accurate they really are, and if I’ve really changed anything over time - and I’ve found some that are quite amazing, actually, even with the limited number of questions asked.

I’ll mention three of my favourites here, since each of them provide information after on how you might go about shifting in the direction you would prefer, as well as how you might recognize patterns in others.  If you want to try them, they are free, but warning - you will receive email newsletters and such afterwards from their owners.  (I don’t mind these ones, as they provide quite useful, and thought provoking content, but if you don’t like it afterwards, you can always opt out.)

  • The Gautrey Influence Profiler gives you an indication of the ways in which you influence people, and gives some tips on how you might improve your influencing and power skills.
  • The Carson Tate Productivity Assessment indicates your preferences for managing work, the way you think and process information, and more.
  • Predictable Success Leadership Style Assessment indicates, of course, your preferred leadership style.  It has some similarities as the productivity assessment when you look at the details, but gives some fresh perspectives too.

But what all of these really come down to is understanding yourself, and understanding your team members.  What makes them tick?  What does their individual knowledge and experience contribute to the team?  When do they shine?  And how can you create the conditions, or assign roles and responsibilities, to bring out the best of each of them, for the greater success?

I know what I am good at, and what I enjoy.  Assessing a complex process and picking at where there might be weak spots or risks, gaps to fill, or redundancies that can be cut.  Compiling together random data, multi-disciplinary thoughts or ideas, comparing and correlating information, and then discovering patterns, or making them come together in a nice flow (as in story or report writing!) 

I do this with meetings too - start a dialogue, and then sit back to just listen and take notes, maybe occasionally add a comment or ask a question to help move the discussion or poke another stream of thought in there - then relaying back to everyone the themes, differences and synergies that have arisen.  It’s amazing how much people talk over each other, or otherwise contribute to each others’ ideas without even realizing it!

Perhaps it's time we should do a better job of recognizing our strengths, and our team's strengths in a more formalized way...maybe even using them to all of our advantages.  

What do you know you are good at, and what do you enjoy?  What scenarios and work environments do you excel in?  Have you talked with your superiors about it, so you might increase your overall performance, and show leadership in your capabilities? 

Have you asked your direct reports what they know and like?  How they prefer to work?  Or are you missing some opportunities for a great and productive team? 

This blog post is in response to Natalie’s 10 Day Freedom Plan Blog Challenge Day 4

Photo credit: levork via Visual Hunt / CC BY-SA