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Leadership Lesson #2: Make Sure that Everyone (Including You) is Doing the Right Job

by George Virtue, CPA, CA, Managing Partner

For a long time, I felt that that best way to increase a team member’s contribution was to help them improve in their areas of weakness. “If we could just fix those things that held them back in their job, I thought everything would be perfect!” Two great books (and a few real life experiences) changed my thinking. If you want to achieve the highest level of performance from your team members, you must ensure that their jobs take advantage of their unique “strengths” and satisfy their unique “motivators”.

I recently helped a growing business create a more effective management team. The group of shareholders was struggling to determine how to assign responsibilities amongst themselves. A discussion about what each of them wanted to do provided some guidance but it was not until the team members completed the “Strength Finder” survey and talked about the power of focusing on what you are good at and leaving the rest to others that we were able to put each of them in the job that was best suited to them. The Strategic Thinker/Influencer became the General Manager; the Relationship Builder felt empowered by taking over the role of Sales Manager; The Executors understood that Project Management was the best way for them to contribute.

I was fortunate to be able to watch both of my sons curl at the highest competitive junior level a number of years ago. Although I did not appreciate it at the time, they both took advantage of their individual strengths and motivators. The result was performance well beyond expectations. My youngest son is competitive and driven, a risk taker who thrives under pressure. He skipped teams at the age of 10 and played third at Canadian Nationals at the age of 16. He loved the challenge of making the pressure shot, of “being in the house to call the line”. My older son is disciplined, focused, a perfectionist who avoids stress by doing things right in the first place. He was the team trusted lead, throwing the first rock perfectly every time. He did not relish the spotlight; he simply did his job  and loved every minute of the experience. It occurred to me that neither would have been successful or happy playing the other’s position.

Jim Collins in Good to Great suggests that you start a great team by getting the right people on the bus and goes on to advise us to ensure that they are all in the right seat on the bus. Focus on each team member’s strengths and motivators to help decide what seat they should be in on your bus.

Do you know what you are great at?  Do you know what drives you?  If you need help determining your strengths and motivators, check out the surveys in the books Strengths Finder and What Motivates Me. And then make sure your job sets you up for success and happiness.


Click here for a downloadable PDF of Leadership Lesson #2: Make Sure that Everyone (Including You) is Doing the Right Job

Click here to read Leadership Lesson #1: Get the Right People on the Team

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