As human beings we are hardwired to be interdependent. The cornerstone of the Strengths Strategy model that I use in my coaching practice is Interdependence. This week, we’ll talk about three more ways that you, as a leader, can lift up and practice interdependence with your team. It can be fun to witness them in the act of brilliantly applying their Strengths to their tasks and then acknowledge them for it.
There is beauty in the simplicity of what it takes to bring out the best in others. You simply need to be mindful and aware of the needs of others. And, when you model and encourage creative brainstorming you begin to tap into the Strengths of others.
This is part 4 in the 5-part series on Peak Performance by Diana Gabriel, Certified Strengths Strategy Coach.Working together. It’s what we are wired to do. Click To Tweet
In my last post we talked about research by brain science psychiatrist Dr. Edward Hallowell. In his book, Shine: Using Brain Science to Get the Best from Your People, he suggests five steps to bring out the best in people.
We have already talked about Step 1: Select — the importance of putting the right people in the right job and Step 2 :Connect — the importance of trusting relationships to bring out the best in people.
The remaining three steps are…
step 3: PLAY
Play is not limited to break time. Any activity that involves the imagination lights up our brains and produces creative thoughts and ideas. Play boosts morale, reduces fatigue and brings joy to the workday.
Encourage imaginative thinking by…
- Being curious with an open mind.
- Asking open-ended questions.
- Encouraging everyone to produce three new ideas each month.
- Allowing for irreverence or goofiness (without disrespect), and model this behavior.
- Brainstorming, brainstorming, brainstorming – no one gets to be wrong!
Tap the people who’s Strengths are Ideation and/or Futuristic for brainstorming.
- Acknowledging and rewarding new ideas and innovations.
- Encouraging people to question everything.
step 4: GRAPPLE AND GROW
When in the sweet spot of their Strengths, help people to engage imaginatively with the tasks they like and at which they excel. Then, encourage them to stretch beyond their usual limits.
If tasks are too easy, people fall into boredom and routine without making any progress or learning anything new. Your job, as a leader or manager, is to be a catalyst when people get stuck, offering suggestions but letting them work out solutions.
step 5: SHINE
Every employee should feel recognized and valued for what he or she contributes. Recognition should not be reserved solely for the stars of the group.
People learn from mistakes and failure. They grow even more when their successes are noticed and praised. Letting them know that you appreciate their contributions, large and small, will motivate them and secure their loyalty.
When a person is under-performing, consider that a lack of recognition may be the cause, or their Strengths may be misaligned with their responsibilities. An employee usually won’t come right out and tell you that they feel undervalued or that their responsibilities do not tap their Strengths enough. You must look for the subtle signs and:
- Be on the lookout for moments when you can witness someone doing something right and fully engaged in what they are doing. It doesn’t have to be unusual or spectacular, but you can see the sparkle of joy in their eyes. Don’t withhold compliments.
- Be generous with praise. People will take in your praise and start to perform better for themselves and each other.
- Recognize attitudes, as well as achievements. Optimism and a growth mindset are two attitudes you can single out and encourage. Look for others.
When you are in sync with your people, you create positive energy and opportunities for peak performance. Working together, interdependently, can be one of life’s greatest joys — it’s what we are wired to do.
In what ways, do you engage in and encourage imaginative thinking? Are you providing the right amount of challenging opportunities so that people do not get bored? Are you intentionally providing enough positive feedback?