America’s Got Talent (AGT) is a popular talent show on NBC that features singers, dancers, magicians, comedians and other performers of all ages. At the start of each season, the series’ four judges watch gifted (yet unknown) performers compete – and try to identify contestants with enough talent to entertain American viewers and ultimately win the top prize.
So what does this reality TV show have to do with your business?
Like the show, your organization needs to uncover the best talent to compete. When your employees are putting their talents to good use, they are more engaged, fulfilled and motivated – and ultimately perform better for you.
But while AGT’s judges already have a good handle on contestants’ talents, your employees’ greatest strengths may not be so apparent. As a manager, it’s vital to look within individuals for hidden aptitudes – areas in which they can really excel. What can you do to discover these talents? Try these ideas:
- Take compliments one step further. When an employee does a great job, get specific with your praise. Pinpoint the strengths of his accomplishment and ask him to share his process. Your discussion may lead to insights about hidden abilities that can be transferred to new job tasks.
- Mix things up. Put your team members in novel work situations to tap unique thought patterns and creative energies. When your staff uses different ways of thinking to solve problems, they may uncover new strengths in the process.
- Observe. Keep an eye on your employees. When new opportunities arise, who is the first to jump at them? People are drawn to areas in which they excel. By simply observing the kinds of responsibilities individuals are drawn to, you can learn even more about where their talents lie.
- Analyze how employees think – not just what they do. When conducting performance reviews, you should rightly focus on whether or not an employee has hit his goals. But don’t stop there. Describe and document the habits of mind that contribute to each employee’s success. Then, during the next review, articulate these observations and discuss them with the employee. Doing so will help you (and your employee) identify additional projects that take advantage of his natural way of thinking.
As you uncover each individual’s hidden strengths, find ways to leverage them at work. Provide opportunities for your staff to develop skills in areas where they excel. Strategically align employees with projects and tasks that bring out the best in them. Do this, and you’ll create a high-performing team that stays working for you.