Thursday, July 18, 2013

Discoverin​g Your Team Member's Talents

Guest post by Joseph Lalonde:

One of the best things we can do for our team is to discover our team member's talents. The place where they really shine.
The talents of our team members are usually what drives them to excel. Your team will find purpose and meaning when they begin putting their skills to work.

The key is discovering the talents of our team members. They can be hidden or even unknown by the one who possesses the talents. These talents are often buried under years of neglect and distrust.
This is where you come into play as a leader. Great leaders are able to dive deep into a team member and draw out the best from them. This includes finding their talents and helping them develop the skills that make them great.

What can you do to discover the talents? Try these three tips:
1. Put your team members into new situations: New situations often draw out untapped energy and thought patterns. People have to use a different way of thinking to solve the new problems.

You'll be able to see the team member's hidden talents arise as they are faced with challenges they’ve never seen before.
2. Talk to your team members about their hobbies outside of work: Many leaders will avoid talking to their team about their lives outside of work. I know this to be a hindrance to discovering their talents. Your employees’hobbies will frequently revolve around their skills abilities. Tap into their hobbies and you can discover what their talents are. Not only will you discover their talents, you’ll also begin to form relationships that will improve their loyalty with your organization.

3. Watch your team: Keep an eye on your team members when new opportunities arise in the workplace. Who's jumping at what opportunity? Team members are drawn to areas that they know they have talent and will take on the task. Figure this out and help place team members into areas where their talents can be put to full use. Doing this will allow you to get the right people on the right bus in the right seats (as Jim Collins would say).
As you begin to discover the talents of your team, you’ll see a shift begin to take place. The work environment will change. Goals and objectives get met with enthusiasm and a desire to do the best job possible.

Your team will be excited to come to work. They’ll be ready for a new day and a new chance to shine.

All of this happens because we’ve paid attention to the skills and talents of those working for us. And then you showed you cared by placing them into situations that bring out their best.
Remember, we want to draw out the best from our team. This involves learning what drives them and the talents they bring to the organization.

Take the time today to decide how you can put your team into new situations, spend some time learning their hobbies, and keep an eye on the team.
Your team and your organization will thank you for it.

About the author:
Joseph Lalonde is a youth leader at Oak Crest Church of God and leadership blogger at Joseph shares leadership tools and encourages you to become a better leader. Connect with him on Twitter or at his blog.


Joseph Lalonde said...

Thanks for having me on your blog today Dan. I hope this inspires your readers to draw out the talents of their team.

Anonymous said...

Number 1 could prove problematic if you have people who are strongly introverted. You may not get to see their talents if a strong extrovert takes over the group.

Joseph Lalonde said...

Withoutissue, while that may be an issue at times, I also realize it's not the only way to discover the team's strengths.

This is where point 3 comes into play. Observing the team members in their regular work role can be an eye opener as it's where they can get comfortable, even if they're an introvert.

Anonymous said...

As an HR person we're always cautious (but not impersonal) about talking about hobbies outide of work. What's happens if they start oversharing about religion, ethic organizations, medical status (e.g. diabeties foundation volunteering), yadda yaadda.

I do like ideas from the Strengths Finder people who suggest things like asking people "tell me about a time you were at your best", then drill down into the how or why. Or "what parts of your last job(s) were most exciting for you".

Looking for the connection between personal passion and talents is a great point this blogger reminds us about, just be careful how you get there.

Hugh Ballou said...


Thanks for this thoughtful post.

Hugh Ballou
The Transformational Leadership Strategist

Joseph Lalonde said...

@Anonymous: I'm of the mindset that sharing is good, even if there is a bit of over sharing. We've become a society where we can't tell others who we are without the fear of offending. Regardless of what we do, there will always be someone who thinks something is over sharing.

@Hugh: Thanks Hugh! What's your biggest takeaway from the post?