As a manager it’s important to make sure you have the right people in the right place to deliver the right results. It’s important also that your people are playing as much to their strengths as possible. It’s also important to judge them against what they are strong at, rather than against what they may be cornered in to doing.
Everybody is a Genius. But If You Judge a Fish by Its Ability to Climb a Tree, It Will Live Its Whole Life Believing that It is Stupid – Einstein
I suspect many people are doing a job or a role that they aren’t designed to do. They are doing a job but it’s not using their strengths. It may even be playing more to their weaknesses than their strengths. They may even be failing all measures in place surrounding their job. They may have fallen in to the job and cannot find a way out. They may have been promoted to their most incompetence (The Peter Principle), or the company may have shifted and they haven’t found their natural home yet. (And no doubt a myriad of other reasons too).
A manager’s job though is to hire the right people, get to know them, put them in the best position to succeed and switch up (coach them, move them, open up opportunities) as the business changes.
In my experience, successful individuals and teams are working with their strengths the majority of their time. They show high levels of engagement, are delivering and have fewer “performance” issues. When people are not using their strengths I’ve seen them become de-motivated, sometimes disruptive, wary to step above their job role and have zero inclination to improve the work. This is not always true of course, but it’s certainly a pattern I’ve seen.
So how do you know what people are good at and what their strengths are?
You could use aptitude or preference tests or strengths finders but the best way is to get to know them. It’s quite simple really.
Talk to them. Listen to them. Have regular 1:1s. Work out their strengths and weaknesses by building a human connection with them.
And once you get to know them you will get to know where they add the most value, derive the most meaning from their work and do the work they are designed to do.
You may also help them to find their genius as Albert Einstein would say.