Below is an excerpt from my newest coaching and peer mastermind modules, The 24/7 Leader: Transforming Personal & Professional Life:
“Well, we’ve found something you’re not good at,” he said. “Let’s figure out what else you can do, Shawn.”
I couldn’t volunteer ideas for how I could add value because I didn’t know what needed to be done. I’d never been in an environment like that before. I didn’t even know how much I didn’t know! But I had confidence in my ability to learn and was determined to be useful.
Over several weeks President Messerli tried to find a task I was good at. I was horrible at all of them!
I suspect out of desperation to find something for me to do, he asked me to take notes at a meeting.
“What did you think of the meeting?” he asked afterward.
“Wow! It was fascinating,” I told him. “I noticed when Mr. Jones spoke, everyone listened, but when Mr. Frank made a suggestion, no one listened or even made eye contact with him. Later when Mr. Jones said basically the same thing as Mr. Frank, everyone agreed with him.”
When I finished, he said, “You’re very observant. You saw things other people didn’t see. Including me. I think we found what you’re good at.”
From that moment on, I took notes at President Messerli’s meetings and shared my observations afterward. He listened to me and helped me realize I had an intuitive grasp of organization dynamics long before I understood the term.
He discovered this capacity in me because he operated from a belief that I had something to contribute. It just took a while to find it.
People often don’t know their own strengths, so they land in roles they’re unsuited for that don’t play to their natural strengths. They beat their heads against the brick wall of their blind spots.
Stuck in a role that didn’t play to my strengths, I would have struggled with feeling unsuccessful and eventually disengaged. Because I felt like a trusted and valued member of the president’s team, I worked my heart out—and loved every minute of it.
He was an inspiring leader who role modeled a key leadership practice: focus on strengths.
Inspiring leaders find a way to call out the best in others. They do that by recognizing people don’t always know what they do well. And then they help them find their strengths.
Your Leadership Coaching Challenge:
Inspiring leaders look for other people’s strengths and make a point to let their colleagues know. Practice and make it a habit to look for other’s strengths.
- Express gratitude for the contributions you see others making.
- Verbalize what you see other people doing well every day with specific, real-time feedback.
- Write a thank you note when you observe someone doing something extra.
- Help your team members see what’s possible for their growth and how to build on their strengths over the next twelve to eighteen months and beyond.
Do this daily to make it a long-lasting habit! If you need a daily reminder to interact positively with your colleagues, download and print my free resource Create Positive Growth in Your Relationships!
If you would like to take this deeper, join "The 24/7 Leader" coaching process and peer mastermind. To enroll, please contact us. For more support in your team's development, let's talk: 888-959-1188.