22 Oct '13
Helping our staff find their sweet spot - and it applies to us as well
A critical factor in the success of any organization or team is ensuring that staff are deployed in their "sweet spot." That is, in alignment with their gifts, abilities and strengths. In fact the difference between a staff member being deployed in their proper lane or not is absolutely huge. Someone who looks like a failure in one lane can look like a huge success in another.
How does one go about determining where a staff member fits? I have several suggestions.
One: Understand if they are an individual producer or an organizational or team leader. There is a fundamental difference between the two. Individual producers are those who best work projects that they do alone (think a salesman). They are not wired to manage other staff. Team or organizational leaders love to work through others (think the sales manager) and that is where they shine. Put either individual in the role they are not wired for and they will be frustrated.
Two: Dialogue deeply with staff members about what they have done in the past that gave them the most joy and satisfaction. If they are frustrated in their current role or if you are frustrated with them in their current role it is a good indication that they are in the wrong role. This meas asking a lot of questions to bring clarity both to you and to them about what they are really good at and what gives them the most satisfaction.
Three: Be candid with a staff member if you have concerns about their current job. As you probe their own satisfaction you will often discover that they are frustrated in the same areas you are because those areas are not in their skill set. They may not be able to articulate that to you except for you raising the issues and sharing your observations. It has been my experience that there is often relief when staff members discover why they have been frustrated and that discovery makes it possible for you to reposition them for success.
Four: Remember that when we are in our sweet spot we experience satisfaction rather than frustration, those around us are served by us well rather than poorly and the role we play sees the proper results. When we are not in our lane, we experience frustration and those around us do as well. Frustration, lack of results, irritation by those we serve or are on our team are often symptoms that someone is not positioned properly.
Helping staff find their proper role is an ongoing responsibility of leaders. The better we do this the better our team performs and the higher the happiness factor of our staff. This is a stewardship role of leaders.