As we become more aware of our individual strengths, it’s important to also understand and leverage the talent of others around us.
Why is that? The great thing about understanding strengths (and weaknesses) is that we gain valuable self-awareness and discern where to “borrow” talent in areas where we may have a deficit – those types of work or processes that don’t come naturally to us. In this way, a colleague with strength in an area where you may be weak can “cover your blind spot,” so to speak.
For example, my most dominant talent theme is “Activator,” which means I am strongly drawn toward action and can be a strong catalyst but I also may (and DO) become impatient without activity. If I’m in a situation where a little risk analysis might be prudent, I confer with a partner who is strong in the “Deliberative” department. This person will help to “rein me in” – as I have the tendency to act on instinct. If my gut’s wrong and I’ve already pulled the trigger, the consequence could be devastating. But, by borrowing from my more scrupulous colleague, my assumptions are validated through meticulous consideration before I pull the trigger.
Or, say a leader high in “Harmony” has an employee who is not meeting performance expectations, but his need to avoid conflict makes it challenging to address the issue. In this circumstance, it may be valuable to collaborate with a colleague high in “Self-Assurance”. She can provide the perspective and help you rely on your expertise to develop a way where you feel comfortable coaching the struggling employee.
Leveraging the talents of others is a win-win for all parties. You, as the individual who needs the assistance, don’t have to struggle to work through a problem – and you get additional expertise along the way. And the person with this expertise gets to experience the results and play in their “sweet spot,” which is typically highly engaging.
When did you last “loan” your talent and contribute to a successful outcome?