“How do you KNOW me so well” are the words every manager longs to hear from their team.
As a Gallup trained strengths coach I hear “How do you know me so well” all the time. When that happens I respond with I’m not clairvoyant or psychic, I just know your strengths..
Knowing your strengths for the first time is transforming–trust me I know. One of the greatest experiences of my life was when I took the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment in 2004. When I first learned about my signature strengths I not only wondered how someone in my computer could know me so well, but my entire career path changed. So without further ado, let me share with you my journey into the light..
Strengths Changed My World!
“People with Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They innately want to transform something strong into superb.” (Clifton Strengths Finder 2.0)
As an undeveloped Maximizer, I loved excellence. But frustration ensued from an inability to recognize and stimulate the strengths in myself and others. I rarely accomplished my desire to see positive transformation. Paired with my raw undeveloped Maximizer theme was an equally raw and undeveloped Responsibility theme.
“People with Responsibility theme take psychological ownership of what they say they will do. They are committed to stable values such as honesty and loyalty.” (Clifton Strengths Finder 2.0)
My undeveloped Responsibility talent lead me to take on all the “good” things other people wanted me to do. My schedule was so full there was no way to transform good to great. Instead I barely met deadlines with mediocre results.
As I embraced the journey of self-discovery and learned how to intentionally apply my talents to grow them into strengths my life began to align with my values.
How did I do that? Simple…Developing and Pairing Maximizer and Responsibility together helped me to not only honor the commitments I had made, but I was eventually able to meet my personal standards of excellence. I literally wrote out every project I had committed to do for others. First, I completed each project to the best of my ability. Then I disciplined myself to graciously decline any invitation that required my time. It took almost a year to complete all my commitments. Yes, I will courageously admit, there were 75 things on my list. Crazy….
It was like a light appeared after the storm for me. Life got better and so did my work.
An unexpected bonus happened: weekends became family fun time again.
This cleared the way for me to selectively filter all my commitments through the lense of my values and priorities. The result: I was using my strengths to see potential in a project before I committed to take it on. Transforming them from strong to superb became possible.
Then the opportunity to become a coach presented itself and I was able to accept and fully commit to excellence.
I get to do what I love every day as a coach. I Help others discover the powerful life change that occurs by discovering, developing, and aiming Strengths toward what makes life full and successful.
World’s Collide For My Client
Recently while coaching the owner of a construction company (we’ll call him Tom) an amazing thing happened.
Tom had unintentionally taken on the role of supervising all the new projects. He was now managing and supervising multiple teams at multiple locations, as many as six at a time. Because this was a role Tom had never experienced before, it undeniably created some tough situations for him to overcome.
The problem arose during the busiest season of the year when all six teams were calling him for every decision and problem they encountered.
Tom brought this challenge to our coaching so we turned to his Strengths to find the solution. The results of Tom’s Clifton StrengthsFinder revealed 4 of his top 5 talents were in the executing domain, and 1 talent in the relationship domain.
“Developer” was Tom’s relationship talent
So what was happening? Tom was doing what developer’s commonly do, he was ONLY seeing potential in his guys.
“People with Developer theme recognize and cultivate the potential in others. They spot the signs of each small improvement and derive satisfaction from these improvements.” (Clifton Strengths Finder 2.0)
Tom was most comfortable in his role of executing projects. His executing talents actually worked against him (something talents often do until you develop them into strengths.) This added to his stress levels when things weren’t happening as quickly and effectively as the company needed. Tom was stuck because he was failing to develop the “potential” of his best crew members. Developing leadership skills would help each crew problem solve without needing to come to Tom every time a decision needed to be made.
But, Tom was open and ready to learn how to develop his talents into strengths!
Tom and I immediately went to work leveraging his strength as a developer to create well supervised, self-sufficient teams.
Coaching is a long term process, 6 coaching appointments aren’t going to change a culture in a company. A Strengths Coach becomes an invaluable part of your team to help you bring about the growth you want.
So…..Together we designed a plan for bringing strengths based leadership to the crew members who are exhibiting the highest potential for growth to become crew supervisors next season. The end result we’re expecting is not only an increase in engagement and performance across the entire company, but also for Tom’s crew members to ask: how do you know me so well? Success!
Tying Everything Together
If there is one thing you can take from this it is that the first step of becoming a great manager is self discovery.
What ties both my story and the story of my client together is that we are leveraging what we already naturally do well to solve the challenges facing us.
Normally we attack problems without first identifying the issue and then creating an intentional plan for resolution. We react. Rarely does this produce the outcome we want. Instead if we can simply stop, think and respond by engaging our strengths first the outcome will be aligned with growing our bottom line.
Now It’s Your Turn
When was the last time you heard “how do you know me so well” from a member of YOUR team? Respond in the comments section below!
Have more questions than answers right now? Well that’s actually a GREAT thing. Take action to understand your strengths as a leader of your company or team TODAY! Contact Cheryl @ Live Life Fully Coaching