Leadership Trevolution Blog


Blog Entries by Tag: Weakness

Human Resources and Your Team

Published on: Jun 04, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Team Leadership, Productivity, Empowerment, Weakness, Strength, Management

Some question the term “human resources” because they believe it may objectify people. Based on that definition people become resources like computers, desks, phones, or vehicles. While few managers would agree with this view and even though most companies say that people are their greatest resource, employees at times perceive they are treated like objects. Traditional management practices tend to create this perception, and many times do so without intention. This does not make human resources a bad term, but simply a bad definition that has developed over time. 

Computer

It is true that people are human and, in my experience, people desire to be a valuable, contributing resource at work. Resource becomes derogatory when organizations use people without consideration of their humanity. In that case, they define the person without consideration of who they are and who they can become. This occurs when managers attempt to conform people to their expectations without consideration of each person’s uniqueness. 

Once you, as a leader, take the responsibility to understand the people on your team based on each person’s unique ability to contribute, human resources will be redefined. Three practices will begin your development of this capacity. 

Observation 

Leaders develop the capacity to understand people, clarifying both individual and group potential.  The primary skill required is nonjudgmental observation. All of the information you need is readily available and accessible. Watch and listen to learn about those you lead and position them to contribute successfully. 

Awareness 

This is a challenge because many of those you lead today are not fully aware of their own potential. As you learn about the people you lead, you will also guide them to become more aware of their own capacity. I hear discussion about employee engagement. One of the keys to engagement is awareness of the capacity each person possesses. It is their abilities, strengths, and knowledge that they must be aware of and you must engage. 

 Investigation 

When you observe potential in a person on your team, position them to discover it. Allow him or her to investigate personal potential by attempting something he or she has not yet mastered. Do not set a person up for a level of failure that discourages him or her and puts the outcome at unacceptable risk. Do challenge them beyond their current contribution level. Present the opportunity based on your observation of unrecognized potential. The learning opportunity is an investment whether the person succeeds easily or struggles toward mastery of new skills. 

PeopleThe leadership capacity of development is important because it ensures that people are appreciated as a resource based on personal uniqueness. You appreciate who a person is by engaging everyone based on what each individual is best equipped to accomplish. Beyond that, you give every individual the opportunity to excel beyond personal expectations. With this practice, you, your team, and the organization will benefit from the individual and collective performance results. 

The Power of Diversity

Published on: May 14, 2012 | Tags: General, Team Work, Team Leadership, Self Leadership, Weakness, Strength, Productivity

The workplace grows increasingly diverse. I define diversity as anything that makes one person different from another. By this definition, some personal characteristics make identifying how we are different from those we work with easy. At the same time, there are more subtle differences. These can be overlooked or ignored. A leader who aspires to bring people together and achieve optimum levels of performance needs the skill to leverage this diversity. 

In some cases, managers either intentionally or unintentionally attempt to move people to conformity. This is essentially an attempt to make everyone the same. I understand this desire as it appears to the manager that her job will be easier if everyone acts and thinks the same way. If this is your expectation as a leader, how realistic is it? The energy expended attempting to get people to act as you want them to act and the frustration you experience when it does not happen can be better spent. 

Diversity presents the integration and differentiation challenge. Your team has to be integrated enough to work together and fit into the organization while differentiated enough to bring individual resources derived from personal uniqueness to the team. Teams that achieve this balance share three characteristics. Diversity

  • Each person understands self in order to contribute out of strengths and manage weaknesses. 

When a person contributes from self-understanding, there is less temptation to let another person define individual contribution. As people understand and lead self well each one fits into the team without losing personal high potential or hindering team productivity. Everyone complements others with confidence in what each one can and cannot contribute to the team.  The expectation is that everyone contributes out of personal strengths and weaknesses. 

  • Acceptance and appreciation of self and others expressed as openness and mutual support. 

Failure to accept and appreciate self and others generates judgment, criticism, relational distance, and misunderstanding. This becomes a negative diversity experience. At best, independence limits group productivity. At worst, everyone lives in constant turbulence.  Alternatively, when everyone accepts what others bring to the group with openness and mutual support, one person’s strengths cover another’s weaknesses. This is diversity’s power. 

  • Collaborative interactions evidenced in collective outcomes. 

Diversity’s power results in collective outcomes. The ability to collaborate derived from acceptance and appreciation engages every resource each person possesses. In the end, the team’s productivity improves as each person’s best synergistically produces what the individuals cannot. Personal achievement excels as well when each person contributes from her strengths. 

Some managers may believe it easier to make everyone the same. Great amounts of energy have been expended to this end. The problem with this approach: it goes against nature. Do we really believe it is easy to make someone become who he is not? It is easier to position a person to be who she is with the expectation of openness and support of others. There will be some turbulence as acceptance is sorted out, but it diminishes in time. Attempting to make people who they are not for conformity’s sake perpetuates turbulence.

Interviews

Published on: Apr 12, 2012 | Tags: My Press, Weakness

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