“If you want to get the best out of a person you must look for the best that is in him.” (Bernard Haldane)
Today’s quote is written for the leader / manager who is looking to get the best out of their employees. The author of the quote, Bernard Haldane, is a head hunter and management consultant. I, though, am going to use the quote to have a look at myself first.
For me to perform at my best I must find the best in me. That can mean that I put myself in positions to succeed because the projects or jobs I take are well suited to my strengths. It also means that in any situation I must find what it is that I best can do, and capitalize on that strength. To do either of these, I must have an idea about my strengths and weaknesses.
Over the years I have taken dozens of tests and participated in countless evaluations and inventories related to measuring my strengths. Each year at work we complete a skills inventory and develop training plans to close gaps or build on our strengths. I have taken the Myers-Briggs test, the color test, and others. I read and completed the Strengths Builder book, and so on. Although I may not remember the exact terminology for each of the tests, I have a pretty good idea about my strengths and opportunities.
At work I have been given assignments that build my strengths in particular areas. At one time or another I have concentrated on most of the project management disciplines to build a skill set there. In some cases, such as Financial Management, I have actually built a certain level of skill in something I don’t really like to do, but it is a skill nonetheless. All of this comes together for me to form my particular set of skills.
It is romantic to imagine that I could sit and evaluate my mosaic of skills and weaknesses and design the perfect job in which to thrive. If I had sufficient resources to live on for a while, I might be able to make that happen. But, I have to stay rooted in the real world of mortgages, car payments, food costs, and the like. That means that I have to find the way to apply my skills to my current job in a way that accentuates my positives, and helps me work toward closing my gaps.
The good news is that my job does play to many of my strengths. As a project manager I get the opportunity, on a daily basis, to do many of the things that I find dear within my skill set. Some things take a back seat for a while, but eventually will find their way back to the front.
As I am sitting here reflecting today, I am combining this quote with the one from yesterday morning. Yesterday’s quote was about doing a little bit more. In my reflection there I said that I am going to seek ways, both at home and at work, to do a little bit more so that I can increase my success. Today’s quote reminds me that for that to be successful, the things I choose to do have to play to my strengths.
Sometime during the day today I am going to pull out a fresh pad of paper and make a couple of lists. One list will be some of my strengths that aren’t presently being tapped. The other will be a brainstorm list of ways that I can do a little bit more. Where I can apply items from the first list to the second will be the places where I have the best chance to excel.
As a leader / manager I have come to understand that if I am to lead and manage others, I must first manage myself. By making this inventory of my own, underutilized strengths, and finding ways to apply them, I will be more effective and I will learn a new tool to use with my people to help them get the best out of their jobs.