The article was originally published on nearperfectperformance.com/pl blog by Dominik Juszczyk in Polish.
One of the advantages of StrengthFinder, the method of development based on strengths created by the Gallup Institute, is the practical approach and the possibility to apply it in everyday life. It allows you not only to get to know your talents but also to be more productive and effective. Materials of the Gallup Institute, used to develop existing strengths, focus particularly on these issues. How does developing existing strengths influence the efficiency of a team? This is what the following post is about.
Research on team efficiency
The Gallup Institute is well known for its research programmes and their credibility. Obviously, they also took a close look at how working on the existing strengths influences efficiency of teams. I present the selected results of that research below.
According to the Gallup Institute research people who concentrate on using their strengths:
– are three times more likely to say that their life is of great quality,
– are three times more probable to be engaged with their work
Quotes from the book by T. Ratha “Strengths Finder 2.0”.
“Compared with those who do not get to focus on what they do best, people who have the opportunity to use their strengths are six times as likely to be engaged in their jobs and more than three times as likely to report having an excellent quality of life”
What does it mean? If people think their life is great and if they are engaged in their work, it is obvious that they will be more efficient employees. They will also be more proactive, more involved in their team’s work, they will come up with new solutions, etc.
Another study shows how focusing on your strengths influences your work efficiency.
– people who have learned to use their strengths every day are 7,8% more effective
– teams which had the opportunity to learn their strengths and use them daily are 8.9% more effective
Source: J. Asplund i N.Blacksmith “Strengthening Your Company’s Performance”, published in Gallup Business Journal.
“A study of 1,874 individual employees, most of them in sales functions, found that productivity improved by 7.8% after a strengths intervention. And in another study of 469 business units in organizations ranging from retail stores to large manufacturing facilities, units with managers who received strengths feedback showed 8.9% greater profitability.”
Research vs. reality
I haven’t had a chance to conduct such thorough research as they did at the Gallup Institute yet and I am not in possession of such accurate statistics. However, I did have a chance to work with teams and show them what it means to develop on the basis of one’s strengths. It helped me learn how it influences everyday work. There are a few areas where this influence may be seen even more clearly. Such as:
- defining the correct role
- understanding how I work and stress reduction
- setting up a project faster
I have written several articles on how knowledge of talents improves communication. It is easier to talk to somebody when we understand their communication needs. If we know the other person needs to analyse all the pros and cons (an analyst type) we will conduct our conversation differently than with somebody who needs to act instantly (an activator type) or with a person who doesn’t like routine and long-lasting tasks (a flexible type). The knowledge of these needs may reduce the time necessary for the team to adaptat, and avoid the tensions resulting from different communications needs. And all this can lead directly to increased productivity.
Finding the right role in a team
Knowledge of talents may help to establish whether a person, in their present position, is able to use their talents to be more effective and productive and, because of that, is able to work as they please. It is good if it works like that. You can, then, try to think about how to develop these skills and use them in that role. If, on the other hand, an employee uses, in their position, their skills and talents less effectively and concentrates more on their weaknesses, it means we should find them another role, something that will allow them to use their talents. How? This is a broader subject which deserves a separate article. It is good to start with describing the current roles and those that are necessary and to think if a particular employee could be more effective in any of them. If people can use their talents at work they are more effective, it is easier to cooperate with them and they are more engaged with their work. And it can lead to better results of the team and, in turn, of your business.
Understanding how I work leads to stress reduction at work
This effect is closely connected with the previous paragraph. It means that people often act in a particular way without even realising why they do it. And if they don’t know why they can’t change it. There is no easy way to reduce the side effects of their actions (lack of knowledge of their talents insufficiency) or to boost their talents (pros and cons of their talent). Showing them their talents, helping them to develop them positively influences the whole team’s performance.
A quicker launch of a project
A new project is launched. It brings together people who’ve never met before. It usually takes them weeks to get to know each other’s needs, working styles, simply to know each other well. If team members know their talents, and so their needs and their strengths it could last much shorter. I am going to say it again: the knowledge of talents gives such exact possibilities. The faster a project is launched, the shorter time is needed for team members to know each other the better result can be achieved (it leads to a better financial outcome).
The last point, which derives from the previous ones, is about the influence of knowledge of your own and your co-workers’s talents on staff retention (less rotation). What is the reason behind that? If an employee is allowed to work according to their talents, for their role has been chosen wisely, he or she can use their natural abilities daily. And that influences their well-being, motivation and engagement. It is easier for us to work when we can use our abilities, when we can work according to our reacting and thinking style. We are more engaged in our work. If we know the talents of our co-workers it is easier to communicate with our team. It all influences our work satisfaction. If the basic needs of employees are met (e.g. proper salary) then they will, as long as they can use their talents and strengths, be willing to stay and work for an organization that fulfils these requirements.
I hope that I managed to show these areas that are directly influenced by your teams’ and employees’ talents and strengths. By showing your teams how they can use their abilities on a daily basis you help them to be better and more efficient at work. And thus their work is simply better and more pleasant. This is what my experience, gained from working with such teams, tells me.
Do you have the opportunity to use your strengths at work every day?