LUTZ BUSINESS INSIGHTS
enhance your management style with gallup’s cliftonstrengths
Stephanie hand, human resources shareholder
There are many ways to use Gallup’s CliftonStrengths assessment beyond just knowing your team’s strengths. To derive the most benefit from the assessment, you can put the information to use by instituting strengths-based management practices in your organization. Adopting a strengths-based approach has been shown to lead to measurable improvements in employee engagement, morale, and overall retention.
If your team is considering taking the StrengthsFinder assessment, but you’re not sure how to apply the results, below are five ways that managers are using the insights from CliftonStrengths to create positive change in their organizations.
1. To improve the feedback process
Feedback plays a vital role in setting and adjusting expectations and future outcomes that drive employee behavior. However, not all feedback is created equal. Research shows that only 26% of employees believe that feedback helps to improve their work. Many times, this is because managers don’t often provide effective feedback.
A key theme in delivering useful feedback is that it’s given from a strengths-based approach: it focuses on celebrating the good, learning from the less-than-ideal, and recognizing the potential for growth and development based on the areas in which an employee excels. Effective, strengths-based feedback has been shown to enhance employee well-being and engagement as well as increase work productivity and job satisfaction.
One of the best ways managers can capitalize on the benefits of strengths-based feedback is to review employee strengths to understand how those strengths are contributing to both their successes and challenges. If a strength is “turned on high volume” it has the potential to get in an individual’s way because sometimes there is too much of a good thing! Discussing challenges from a strengths perspective allows managers to frame feedback more positively, celebrate and challenge employees in the areas in which they’re most skilled, and proactively find ways to support them in spaces where low performance is likely — all through a lens of greater understanding.
2. To facilitate delegation
The ability of managers to delegate tasks is crucial to the success of any business, yet many base delegation primarily on one factor: availability. However, assigning work to someone who has the most time to dedicate to a project doesn’t guarantee that you’re allocating resources most effectively. Instead, research suggests that strengths-based delegation is a better predictor of efficiency and productivity.
When a manager understand employee strengths, they can delegate roles and responsibilities to team members based on the areas in which they’ll naturally excel. Applied properly, strengths-based delegation can effectively expand an overall team capacity by making better use of the talent available. It can also help to make future hiring decisions as a manager knows which strengths the team could use more of to offset the current skill set.
3. For motivational purposes
In the strengths-based perspective, talent and motivation are critically related. Talents are our natural ways of thinking, feeling, or behaving; needs are the things that will leave us fulfilled; motivation is the driving force that connects the two. Strengths play a vital role in this equation because talents and strengths are nearly synonymous. That means that when a manager takes the time to understand an employee’s strengths, they will also be able to better recognize the connection between what they’re good at and what they’re striving to achieve. In turn, this offers insight into the best way to manage, motivate, and engage that individual based on their unique attributes.
4. Coaching on performance.
Feedback is used to give employees information on their past performance, but coaching is all about the potential they have to shine in the future. Knowledge of an employee’s strengths (those that are obvious on the surface and those that aren’t) allows a manager to work with an individual to craft goals that are actionable, attainable, and most likely to lead to further successes — because they’re based on the areas in which the employee is naturally gifted. This growth-minded, strengths-based approach creates a more positive work environment, boosting employee engagement and retention, and promoting team morale.
5. Increasing collaboration
A manager can’t moderate every meeting, so employees should also be familiar with the top five themes of their team. Encouraging them to apply this strength-based lens to projects even when a manager isn’t around can help foster understanding for one another’s work styles, improve assignment of duties, better manage expectations, and enhance team member interaction. Additionally, when everyone is aligned with a role that plays to their strengths, they’ll rely on each other’s contributions to help flesh out the full picture — one that will probably be completed faster and with a better result with everyone positioned in the “right” role.
These are just a handful of many benefits companies can reap by incorporating strengths-based management practices. For more ideas or information about applying a strengths-based approach to your team or administering a StrengthsFinder assessment, contact us today.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
STEPHANIE HAND + HUMAN RESOURCES SHAREHOLDER
Steph Hand is a Human Resources Shareholder at Lutz with over 19 years of experience. She plays a key role in the people strategy for the firm including Lutz’s performance management process, employee relations and retention, talent management and benefits and compliance efforts.
AREAS OF FOCUS
- Human Resources
- Talent Management
AFFILIATIONS AND CREDENTIALS
- Human Resource Association of the Midlands, Member
- Society for Human Resource Management, Member
- Society for Human Resource Management Certified Professional
- Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR)
- BS in Education, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
- MA in Communication, University of Nebraska at Omaha, Omaha, NE
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