As a manager, do you recognize your employees’ talents and engage their strengths to your benefit? If not, you should start. Take Rudolph for example. While the other reindeer were off playing games, Rudolph was just hanging around, his nose lit up like a Christmas tree. Sure, he could fly like the others, but it was his shiny red nose that cut the Christmas Eve fog so Santa could make his annual gift run.
Employees yearn to be acknowledged for their particular talents. Here are 7 tips on how to increase employee engagement by exposing their strengths.
- Recognize that everyone is good at something. Reindeer fly. Elves build toys. Mrs. Claus bakes. Hermey makes a better dentist than an elf, and it’s a good thing, too, or the Abominable Snowman would have remained abominable.
- Trust in your employees’ abilities. Santa didn’t tell the reindeer how to fly, and he didn’t tell the elves how to make Jack in the Boxes or Hobby Horses. He just asked them to, and trusted in their ability to do so. Give employees a bit of guidance, mentor them, and inspire them to achieve more than they thought possible. Then let them run with it.
- Everyone wants validation and respect. Empower staff like Santa empowered Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen. When people, or in this case, livestock, know they are valued, they’ll work harder and be loyal for years to come.
- Focus on strengths, not weaknesses. Instead of Santa saying, “You’re just too small for this job,” he took one look that homing beacon and asked, “Rudolph with your nose so bright, won’t you guide my sleight tonight?”
- Be a strong leader. Part of strength is admitting weaknesses. Even if Santa was a North Pole NAS-SLEIGH championship driver, he knew he couldn’t navigate that nasty Christmas Eve weather. He would have thrown in the towel if not for Rudolph. So, be a confident leader for both your good and bad points. That way, employees will see how much they have to offer you.
- Talk about it. Ask employees what they believe they are best at. Focus on departmental as well as individual goals. Motivate staff to put ideas into action, and cultivate an environment that breeds success. Elves who have a daily opportunity to do what they love and do best will be more productive.
- Learn new things, but don’t try to “fix” everyone. Spending time concentrating on strengths is of greater benefit than spending the same amount of time trying to perfect something that isn’t your strong suit. To our knowledge, Santa has never held a workshop on how to make your nose glow.
Employees who are engaged and use their strengths the majority of the day report less worry, stress, anger and sadness, fewer sick days, and a lower rate of chronic disease, which means less health-related costs for employers!