Coaching employees to emphasize their strengths is a powerful way to increase engagement and results. According to Gallup, employees who use their strengths every day are three times more likely to report having an excellent quality of life and six times more likely to be engaged at work. They are also 8% more productive and 15% less likely to quit their jobs.
To find your employees strengths, first read our free ebook to figure out what types of people you’re managing. Then, you can start to outline what each person’s strengths are and how that translates into good behavior. Next, read on to see how you help each person transform their alright behavior into awesome behavior.
The Control Freak
Good Behavior: Values quality and consistency above all—even teamwork and collaboration
Great Behavior: Empowers others to reach the same high-quality results in an inclusive and constructive way
How To Get There: To help a Control Freak transform their behavior, first give them control with clear expectations. Ask them to take the lead on a project, but also mandate inclusivity at the same time. Make it clear that success and excellence include incorporating other people into the process. Take it a step further by asking the Control Freak what a good way would be to measure cooperation, and then make that part of the metrics of every project. But continuously managing the Control Freak this way, you can help them link excellence and success with collaboration.
The Career Climber
Good Behavior: Takes on new, undefined projects — but only to selfishly prove their promotability
Great Behavior: Leads new initiatives that drive the central mission while caring about the success of the whole team
How To Get There: To help a Career Climber see beyond their next promotion, pay attention to their ideas and give them opportunities to connect those ideas with mission critical work. When they do work that fits into the company’s bigger picture, reward them with public recognition, praise and exposure to higher-ups. Your goal is to help this employee see that a rising tide raises all ships—including his or her own.
The Entitled One
Good Behavior: Takes an idea and runs with it—but sometimes takes it too far or loses interest
Great Behavior: Leverages his or her inherent desire for efficiency, autonomy and freedom in a consistent, useful way
How To Get There: Break through to an Entitled One’s resistance to developmental feedback and wanton disregard for boundaries and authority with clear, detailed performance expectations. Show them what good, great and awesome results look like in a very structured way (think about using a rubric as you would in a class). Then, clearly relay those expectations to the Entitled One employee.
As the Entitled One works toward great behaviors, reinforce your expectations with a 360-feedback tool that can help them understand which ideas get heard and contribute toward innovation, which skills and behaviors get rewarded with opportunity and the difference between career promotion and progression. You want this person to connect the idea of gradations of success with specific behaviors and outcomes.
The Legacy Employee
Good behavior: Leverages vast institutional and historical knowledge to provide feedback—which is often negative
Great behavior: Leverages tenure and experience with the company to support change initiatives
How to get there: First, let this employee know that his or her longevity with the organization is respected by celebrating his or her history. Don’t just pay them lipservice though. Ask them to explain to the team why a particular process or piece of equipment works the way it does or ask them to add historical context to discussions. Then, ask a Legacy Employee to lead a change initiative— especially when you think they may be resistant to the change. By putting these employees on the project teams that plans change, you can help them connect their history with value in the present.
Good Behavior: Thinks deeply and has innovative ideas—but rarely shares them
Great Behavior: Brings insights to meetings to share and develop with colleagues
How To Get There: To help a Wallflower transform their good behavior into great behavior, you first have to make them feel safe. Minimize disruption and conflict from any interactions whenever possible. Remember that this type of employee appreciates clear direction and instruction and the time to come up with a well-thought-out plan. So, help them prepare in advance for meetings, and set aside time during the meeting for this person’s ideas. Help them see that their ideas are valuable and heard, and you can encourage Wallflowers to come out of their shells.
The Yes Person
Good Behavior: Says yes to everything and overcommits
Great Behavior: Prioritizes projects that match their career goals and help the team and company
How To Get There: You know Yes People will always be willing to say yes, so the first step to helping them move from good to great is to give them permission to say “No.” Show a Yes Person that he or she brings more value to the team them just saying yes. Help them prioritize projects and protect their time by making them feel secure and liked. When they do say “No,” provide reinforcement and positive feedback. By helping the Yes Person see that they bring more to the team than affability, you can help them tap into their deeper strengths.
As a manager, your job is to learn how to leverage each employee’s inherent talents and bring those to the forefront. By reinforcing good behaviors with and showing how to transition to great behaviors, you can help each person on your team reach their full potential.