29 Apr '13
Paying attention to sweet spots
Posted by T.J. Addington
Leaders are exegetes of the people they lead. Too often we simply see people as filling a slot in our organization rather than finding the best people we can and building their job around the gifting and skills that God has given them. When someone is in the right seat and they are in a place where they will be successful because the seat was designed for them, they are in their sweet spot.
In the absence of paying attention to a person's sweet spot and playing to their strengths, people are frustrated and not as productive as if they were positioned for maximum effectiveness (and joy) in their work. As a team leader, one of my core missions is to help position the great people who work on my team in the place where they will be most effective. that means that I must watch them, dialogue with them, be willing to modify their job descriptions and do all that I can to keep them engaged.
How do we determine our own (or others') sweet spots?
Consider asking these questions:
-What things fill my tank and what things deplete me?
-What things do I love to do and which do I put off?
-What am I most effective at and what am I either marginally effective at or really poor at?
-If I could design my perfect job description it would be....
-How do others evaluate my areas of strength and weakness?
-If I could change one thing about my current job that would make my job a lot more fulfilling, what would it be?
-What do others think that I am good at?
For many years, conventional wisdom was that one ought to work on strengthening one's weaknesses. We now know that it is far wiser to focus on our strengths than to try to fix our weaknesses. In fact, people will be the most productive if they can spend no more than 20-40% percent of their time in areas of weakness and 60-80% in areas of strength. We need to help people design their responsibilities in ways that maximize their strengths and find other ways to support their weaknesses.
If someone is really in the wrong spot (they are not playing to their strengths) it may be necessary to help them find another seat on the bus or if there is not another seat on your bus, a seat on another bus.
Helping those on your team understand the sweet spot concept will then allow them to apply the same thinking to those whom they lead. People who are in the right seat and playing to their strengths are happy and productive.