Know Your Employees

As a manager and leader, it's vital to know the strengths, weaknesses, blind spots and developmental areas of each of your direct reports, as well as those you are considering adding to your team. By being aware of your team members' varied abilities, you can ensure each person is in the right role, and they will add value to the organization. Do you understand the full array of talents of all of your employees, so you know how and when to best deploy those talents?

One of my mentors, Bill Bonnstetter, chairman of the board of TTI Performance Systems, shared research from more than 9,000 Job Benchmarks that showed "price of admission competencies." These are the top five most important competencies your team members need to have:

  • Personal accountability
  • Goals orientation
  • Continuous learning
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Resiliency

A good example of how this can work can be seen in the story of Angela. She had neglected to develop someone to take over her role so that she could be promoted into the vice president spot. She asked me to help her identify those with star performer potential who could take over her role--as well as several other manager and director level positions-enabling her to move into the vice president's office in 12 months. Angela knew she would never be as successful as she wanted to be without the right support. She asked, "How can I identify and develop three candidates to provide bench strength for the succession plan in my organization?"

First, we did a Job Benchmark for Angela's current position. Her manager and key stakeholders used my assessment process to rank the 55 dimensions to her job, as well as its rewards, skills required, and the communication style that works best in her role. The whole process took about three hours because the job benchmark assessment provides the questions to answer. 

Next, we looked at each member of Angela's team--and members of many other teams in her department--assessing their motivators, talents and communication styles to see which ones were the best match for the job. Angela chose the top five people. It streamlined the entire effort, saving time, money and aggravation. Together we created customized development plans for each of the five people and over the next two years, each was promoted into roles that matched their preferences and abilities.

You can do this with your own people too.   

Use the following questions to help start the conversation that will enable you to identify the star performers you need to be developing:

What makes you feel most excited in your current role?

When you look at the key accountabilities for your role, which ones are you most excited about doing?

If you do not love what you're doing 80 percent of the time in your current role, let's explore what the options may be in helping you find a role that will work better for you.

What projects or tasks would you like the opportunity to explore if your natural talents are a good fit with that type of work?

When people are engaged in their work and with their team, you can feel the difference. Do you notice that here?

Call or email me if you would like guidance in completing a Job Benchmark for your role or a role that reports into you.