How to Make Your Team SPARKLE
Do you want to get the most of your team? Find out what makes each person sparkle. One clue: it’s not always their skill set.
A skill set is what someone does well, sparkle is what lights them up. Sometimes the two overlap and sometimes they don’t. But both must be present for a team member to thrive.
In my team-building seminars, when people pair up to learn about what makes each other sparkle, I consistently get feedback along these lines: “I can’t believe I’ve worked with my colleague for years, but feel like I’ve learned more about her in the last 45 minutes than I have in all the time we’ve known each other.”
In this age of television shows like “Undercover Boss,” it’s unbelievable to me as I speak around the country how little leaders and bosses actually know about their staff members, including the people directly reporting to them. Yet study after study shows that employee appreciation is one of the key factors of both retention and productivity. And to begin the appreciation process it’s a no-brainer that employees need to know they matter and that the boss is taking a general interest in them.
Learning what makes your team sparkle doesn’t have to take a lot of time, effort or expense. It does, however, take intentional moments of rapt attention – one of the most precious resources we have these days, given our crazy chasing-after-our- lives-versus-living-them schedules.
Here are a few key tips to follow along with success stories for mining your team’s sparkle:
Acknowledge, Acknowledge, Acknowledge
Recognize people for their strengths and most importantly their enthusiasm – the latter being where true passion and sparkle most likely reside. When you notice a special talent or something that lights them up, tell them. If it isn’t obvious, ask questions about, for example, what they did over the weekend. Really listen. What did they do on vacation? Why that? Notice when their voice lilts up or their body language changes. Ask questions and then ask some more.
I had the honor of working with a client who was one of the top female managers of a worldwide hotel chain. With 200 people beneath her, she made it a point to not only learn their names and what they did but to be really interested in uncovering the areas in which they were thriving that expressed their most alive selves.
When this top manager noticed someone in housekeeping light up when organizing theme parties or social gatherings, she went on the lookout to move the employee to a position where a shining personality and proclivity towards organizing and people skills would be better utilized. My client’s employees literally couldn’t do enough for her because she deeply understood that leveraging her team’s sparkle along with their skill set created better morale, employee retention, and greater productivity.
Notice Dimmers As Much As Shimmers
Pay attention to not only what makes a member of your team shimmer, but the challenges that put them on dimmers. If you pay enough attention you will quickly find the themes or categories.
Even someone’s pet peeve can be a compass to what makes that person tick, what he or she feels passionate about. Common pet peeves often point us to core values such as efficiency, feeling heard, communication, kindness, and generosity. For example, you overhear a team member complain about time-wasting meetings. Rather than pulling rank on them, ask why she feels that way and for suggestions to make them more productive. Whether you’re an entrepreneur and building a team or an employer, being aware of your team’s core values and leading with them in mind will boost morale and produce a far more powerful result.
Work Some Sparkle Into Annual Reviews
Performance review time can be filled with stress and concern about getting negative feedback. Add a little pizzazz to the annual review by using it as a tool for a SPARKLE Self-Survey to find out what really inspired team members over the last year, personally and professionally.
Add a few purpose-driven questions to fill out on the review like:
Looking back on the past year, what were the highlights both personally and professionally in your life? Why those?
Given the interests and/or talents you have, how could you better incorporate them into your current position?
For example, when one client asked a team member what talent she would most love to develop, her response was graphic design. She was delighted to become her guinea pig for some lower-priority projects, only to discover she was very talented. The team member, in turn, was thrilled with the opportunity to further develop her gift and build out her portfolio.
Once or twice a year, another client who traveled a lot would throw a hobby party for her staff. She ordered lunch in (everyone loves free food!) and each person was encouraged to share a favorite hobby or two. Some brought pictures. Others brought samples or provided demonstrations. A few shared a song from a genre of music they loved while others shared a book. Many expressed feeling so much more connected afterward.
Remember, when your team sparkles everybody wins!
Lois Barth is a human development expert, motivational speaker and author of the new book, Courage to SPARKLE: The Audacious Girls’ Guide to Creating a Life that Lights You Up. Receive a FREE 68-page Courage to SPARKLE Workbook and Study Guide (Downloadable PDF) with every purchase of the book. (Code is inside the book). For more, visit http://www.loisbarth.com
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