One theme that is always heard at CEO Connection Boot Camps is something that sounds like, “You’ve got to get the people right.”
After all, your people are your most strategic asset. Your “secret sauce” without a brilliant team will get you nowhere. But how do you make sure you actually are “getting the people right?’
From my perspective, these are the five keys for you as a leader to make sure you’re leveraging:
1. Ask your people what they’re genuinely passionate about
I have discovered in recent years that at business and networking events one of the best ways to truly connect with executives is to ask them what they are passionate about. Yes, even the most stoic of executives will immediately smile, relax and illuminate as they connect with their inner self and reflect on what brings them the most joy in life. It’s that inner connection that is the key.
Use this same approach with your team members and everyone in your organization. Invest the time to discover what they are passionate about, and then go one step further and ask, “What is it about (sailing, for instance) that makes you so passionate?” In doing so, we receive clues to roles they will naturally excel in.
For example, answers such as “the teamwork involved,” “freedom,” and “the ability to chart my own course,” help leaders put team members in roles that provide them these same benefits and enable them to thrive. Taking the time to do this well shows you are truly committed to not only “getting the people right,” but also to empowering them to feel truly alive while at work.
2. Know the strengths of each team member
We all have weaknesses as humans that we bring to our jobs. Most stem from our fears, insecurities and struggles with jealousy and forgiveness. But the general consensus among CEOs seems to be that unless these flaws are “fatal” (harmful to others, the culture or the business environment), the main focus of development should be on honing and leveraging team member strengths.
If someone is an exceptional negotiator, put them in roles that provide opportunities for them to negotiate and to hone this skill. Great motivators will take groups of people who have been lacking motivation and turn them into inspired contributors. And leaders who are adept at leading by example should shepherd teams that may have been lacking an example. Here again, investing the time to think strategically about this is critical.
3. Set your people up for success
By giving your employees opportunities to be passionate about their work and to leverage their strengths you are certainly well on your way to setting them up for success. You complete the loop by ensuring they have proper resources and support to get their job done, and by providing them a clear leadership vision to work toward, a values-driven environment and a nurturing, empowering culture.
4. Let go of the people who are holding you back
It’s as simple as that.
The number one thing CEOs always say they wish they’d done sooner is move faster on talent decisions. If someone is resisting change, not adhering to organizational values, does not fit with the culture or is doing anything to hold back their peers, the team or the organization, you simply must let them go.
By letting this person go you set the rest of your team up for success. That is the power of this move.
5. Check in with your people often and re-address the first four keys
Make talent management a priority as a leader, this is not a one-shot deal. The organization will change, your industry will evolve, your people will grow… You must be committed to addressing and re-addressing the first four keys in order to consistently “get the people right.”
What did I leave out? What works for you to ensure you are “getting the people right?”
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