Outstanding managers spend more time developing the strengths of individual team members than they do in correcting weaknesses. They encourage team members to continue to learn and grow rather than just settle for mediocrity. So how can you build on the strengths in your team?
Firstly, consider how you can give them variety in their work. The longer people keep doing the same thing, the less satisfied and engaged they become at work. But here it is important to give them new experiences that they want to experience.
Most people will respond well to new experiences that are consistent with their strengths and interests. Look out for strengths in your team members and ask them about what parts of their work they most enjoy or would like to develop. Sure, with some problem staff, you may need to look very hard to find their strengths, but I assure you they are there. It is just that their strengths are being used in an evil way.
Some people also respond well to challenge, where they are stretching themselves. The research says that about 40% of people generally would like more challenge in their work, but it needs to be challenges they want to take on. How do you find out? You simply ask them. Great managers regularly have discussions with their staff about how they are going at work, strengths and interests they would like to develop, and challenges they would like.
Mentoring is also a great way to help team members to develop. In every team, there are star performers and experienced staff who would be more than happy to mentor others. This not only gives them the feel-goods in helping others but also variety in their work. There are also some advantages to using mentors outside your workplace.
Training programs can also help to build on the strengths in your team. Team members will always benefit more from training in areas they themselves have identified as a need. So consider asking your team what they would like to learn or what challenges they are having that could be addressed in a training program.
So that's it. Start talking with your team members - offer them variety, encourage their strengths and interests, give them a challenge, and offer mentoring and training opportunities.
Ultimately, your team is only as good as the time and investment you put into them.