The Team and Their Strengths

The Team and Their Strengths

I recently asked one of the professionals that I work with what he expects from me as his supervisor. After some time, I received the response from him and asked him to share a bit more about the words and concepts that were shared. “No one has ever asked me that question before”, was how his feedback started.

Then I started to think, what would I have answered? Honestly, this has monopolized my thoughts over the past few weeks. Then I realized, it is probably what I hope that I am doing and have done with those I engage with (never perfectly, always striving):

  • Welcome creativity
  • Welcome surprises (my team surprises me all the time – and I love it!!)
  • Appreciate that I do not know what others are doing and that controlling other people is a waste of time
  • Power, authority and ego are always present – and seldom about role
  • When asking the team for genuine engagement and honesty, not holding a comment or facial expression against the sending person
  • Empower people to do their job, in the way they choose, as strengths are unique in each individual.

(This, is of course, an opportunity for those I would with to keep me on task.) 🙂

The entire idea of considering people first is central to how I lead. To be clear, I do get frustrated and need to refocus, however, when I do – it is about people and their strengths. My strengths coach has been working with me and my team and knows the team well, she describes me as a lioness. Protective of the pride, willing to scavenge for short term wins (food) to achieve the bigger outcome (kill, to keep with the metaphor). Always surveying the surroundings for the best next migration with the pride. Everyone matters, we take care of our own and developing people is key to a stronger team and the creation of the next team leader.

I have experienced the transformation of a team when focusing on strengths. Individuals choosing to update their own position descriptions and reviewing the changes with me to outline what they actually do and how the role then empowers them to achieve the outcomes that better the work we do together. Individuals going from unhappy to much more jolly in the work-place. Individuals feeling safe to be creative and daring. Am I the change, no, they are the change, I am just the fortunate observer and supporter. Watching transformation of people is rewarding for me. The outcomes fall into place. I love seeing people grow in their roles and explore new ways to develop their Strengths. Their happy place becomes my happy place.

I deeply appreciate the heartfelt work that the WSU-R team expertly engages in everyday and know that our WSU-W colleagues support this work. Further, as a community engaged learning institution, our community partners are dedicated and loyal. Our students and future employees benefit from our focus on Strengths and encouraging individuals to work in their “Strengths Zone”.

Indeed, I am blessed!

WSU Learning Community Images.Jeanine

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