What are the greatest lightbulb moments that teams have when using the strengths approach? We notice a few that come up time and again in our work with teams that we’d like to share.
- All teams have strengths – no matter the state of a team, the challenges it faces, its size or history, all teams have strengths – those things at work that members of a team will be energised by and drawn towards. This is an empowering message to provide to teams when they are facing stress or change, as in large part, their performance as a team is driven by the effective use of their strengths. This takes practice, but it puts the team in the driving seat and not at the mercy of forces outside its control
- All teams have performance risks – even the highest performing teams face risks. Perhaps a team has some limiting weaknesses, lacking relational strengths to help it connect with key stakeholders. Or the team lets its strengths go into overdrive, for example reacting to the requests of the business in a bid to serve customers but risking becoming overstretched and burning out in the process. Or maybe the team gets ‘caught’ in a negative cycle of internal politicking and apportioning blame. Whatever the performance risk, there is a strategy to overcome it, again allowing the team to take control
- All teams need a purpose – many teams haven’t even considered the possibility that they aren’t a team at all, but instead a collection of individuals. To truly be a team, a group needs a shared purpose or goal and ‘reason to be’. Establishing purpose needs to be a first step in developing a high performing team, followed by gaining understanding, buy in and commitment to that purpose from all team members
- All teams need to develop good habits – but knowing your purpose, strengths and performance risks isn’t sufficient to drive up team
performance. Teams also need to develop good disciplines and productive habits to maximise their strengths and minimise their risk areas. Examples include providing each other with constructive feedback; ensuring the team understands the needs of its customers; and providing an open forum for debate and discussion without judgement. These habits can be developed but they require sustained practice and determination if they are to become embedded in the team’s culture
- All team members can make a contribution beyond the technical – it comes as a surprise to many team members that their contribution to the team can draw on their own personal values and strengths and that it is these qualities which are most greatly appreciated by other team members. While a team member may do a great job of providing technical input in their field of expertise, it may be, for example, their strategic perspective, their energy for building new relationships or their optimistic outlook that other team members hold in highest regard. This knowledge can elevate a team to a deeper level of understanding and to a higher level of performance as they can more easily call on others’ strengths and support in time of need, and gain enjoyment and energy from doing it too.
So how can you ensure that your team has its own lightbulb moments and delivers more than the sum of its parts? For more about our approach to team profiling and team development, read about StrengthscopeTeam™.
Paul Brewerton, Managing Director, Strengthscope