A great book I often refer to on how to be a strengths based manager is Now Discover your Strengths. The authors make a great analogy as to why using people’s strengths in a team setting is so powerful and why treating everyone the same is so silly.
They believe, as do I, that great managers take the time to learn each person’s strengths early on and that they never stop trying to understand each of their team members. By doing this they understand what is different about each of their team.
The analogy they draw is to chess. Understanding each of your team members is like understanding how each piece moves in chess. If you tried to play chess without a basic understanding of the pieces you would look silly. Perhaps we look just as silly trying to manage our teams without this same type of understanding. You could very well be treating a rook like a knight and a knight like a rook, frustrating both and losing the game in the process. If we take the time to understand the differences before we play the game, the result could be much more successful.