There is a ridiculous notion out there in our society that anyone can do anything at a high level if they set their mind to it. Great managers like you know this is not true and that it is dangerous to think this way. You know that with the right motivation anyone will try anything and likely get it done to some extent, but you know that this is not necessarily success. You know that true engagement comes when we match the right person to the right job or role on the team.
As individuals we all have a front row seat on our own thoughts and feelings. We know that certain tasks feel right to us and others feel wrong. We know that doing certain things makes the day fly by and fill us with a feeling that we are doing what we are good at and others make us feel inferior and drained, even when we succeed at them.
The challenge as a manager is to match the right person to the right role or changing the roles around to fit the people you have. One of the most important measures of employee engagement is how people answer the question,
“At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.” If your employees are answering 5 out of 5 on this questions, you are in the very small minority of managers who have figured out that you need to get to know your staff’s strengths intimately and have found creative ways to put those strengths to work. No other aspect of managing your team is as multi-faceted or complicated as getting this right, but no other is as important.
If you buy into this line of thinking, and I hope you do, check out my previous blog on yearning and learning, for some ideas on how to go deeper with this.