Coaching is a hot topic! Makes sense... people who use their strengths every day are 12.5% more productive in their work. Any strong manager knows they need to coach their people to maximize their strengths, so they can benefit from that natural lift in performance.
As a CSS Talent Analyst, I spend a good portion of my time working with managers to better understand the potential of the people they manage. We help them to focus on the unique strengths and weaknesses of each individual, and we arm them with clear strategies they can use to grow their people and improve performance.
Here’s a fact that is often overlooked... salespeople aren’t the only ones who can increase sales performance by focusing on their strengths. When sales managers adopt strategies to maximize their own strengths, they are rewarded with that very same boost!
Like most things in life, when we are on the outside looking in, everything is so clear. A manager is easily able to articulate the strengths and weaknesses of their direct reports and point to the specific behaviors they see. On our feedback calls, I find they have no problem evaluating exactly what’s working well and what’s not with those they manage, which allows us to have powerful coaching discussions and nail-down a few powerful strategies they can use to help their people improve.
Easy enough. And crystal clear to the manager.
But who’s doing that for them? Who is considering the manager’s strengths, focusing on the behaviors that are working and those that are not, and identifying the strategies that will increase their performance? Sadly, in many cases, the answer to that is... nobody.
While it’s easy to see what is working well for someone else and identify what they could do differently to increase their performance, it’s often really difficult for a manager to appraise themselves in the same way. They rarely have a clear understanding of how their behaviors are perceived by their team. They can only assume.
Are they maximizing their own strengths? Are they minimizing their weaknesses and preventing them from getting in their way? It’s often impossible for a manager to know whether they are reaching their full potential without installing a strong process that allows them to ask the right questions to the right people and gather meaningful feedback without getting caught up in the trivial stuff.
This is the perfect time to commit to that process!
If you are a manager and are interested in gaining a clear understanding of your own strengths and weaknesses, and you want to know for certain where you are reaching your potential and where you can still grow, let us know! We would be happy to enroll you in our Talent Insight Executive Coaching program (either the 8-week or the 6-month version).
If you’d like to make a go of it on your own, here’s what you need to do:
- Identify your own strengths as they related to growing a profit center and managing people. If you have gone through a leadership assessment like the Profit Center Manager Interview, ask for feedback on your greatest strengths. If you have not, it’ll be a lot trickier, but consider which of the 13 management themes are most natural for you. Start by looking at this PCMI Theme Summary and identifying the 3-5 themes that you believe are most natural for you.
- Conduct an anonymous survey of the people who report to you to better understand whether they are seeing these behaviors from you on a regular basis. Ask enough questions and make sure they are highly specific so the data will be meaningful.
- Identify your areas of opportunity – where you believe you have the innate strength, but your direct reports are not raving about your abilities as they should.
- Schedule time with your manager, a personal coach, or a mentor to discuss what you can do to increase your scores in the areas you’ve decided to focus.
- Commit to a handful of strategies that will help you reach your potential in those areas.
- Survey that same group again over time and take note of your growth areas.
- Continue to focus on your strengths and use your identified strategies, instilling good habits that become second-nature.
We wish you a happy and healthy new year filled with increased productivity – both for the people who report to you, and for YOU!