Unleashing Your Team’s Superpowers
Hiring is often a tough process, and a big part of that is that there is no “perfect employee.” Work ethic, personality, and other attractive traits are, of course, obvious things to look out for, but hiring is more than spotting a hard worker. The tough part comes with the fact that you have to build a team. That is, you don’t just need talented individuals, you need individuals whose talents complement one another, and who can work cohesively as a larger, well-oiled machine.
On individual levels, on coalition levels, and on full team levels, these particular talents are what we might call superpowers. Superpowers might not always be conventional skills and traits, but when they show up in team players, they’ll make it clear that the team and the talent are forces to be reckoned with. So how can you identify these superpowers, and how can you put them to work? Let’s take a look!
While it might not be as easy as catching a glimpse of your team without their glasses on, identifying team members’ superpowers is likely much easier than it seems. If you handled the hiring process yourself, chances are, you already have a pretty good idea of what some of these talents and abilities might be. Either way, however, the people that will have the best idea of your team members’ best abilities are those that work with them each and every day. Indeed, as per usual, your best insight into your team’s dynamics is your team itself!
This makes evaluations and exercises like audits incredibly valuable. Meeting with team members on individual and group levels can give you great insight into not only the strengths and weakness, the ebbs and flows of the daily work cycle, but it can also give you a great insight into where different workers’ respect and admiration lie as well. If workers know that they can rely on a specific individual or a specific group of people for certain difficult or nuanced tasks, you might be onto your superheroes!
Individual meetings and evaluations can also give insight into superpowers that aren’t being expressed yet. You might find that certain workers are frustrated and upset with their tasks and responsibilities. Work is work, of course, and for many there will be a degree of disengagement in general. To a certain extent, frustration might come from the fact that a worker knows that they can make a difference in a different capacity, and they are not being permitted the ability to explore that capacity. Having genuine conversations with your team members about what they are doing in contrast to what they wish they were doing can help you pinpoint these passions and abilities. It grants you the opportunity to focus this passion into productivity. Remember, investing in your workers and their experiences is a fundamental tenant of mentor management and servant leadership.
This superpower business isn’t just a bunch of quirky buzzwords. In some odd cases, some people might be particularly talented in tasks and skills that they really do not enjoy. However, in many cases, a good chunk of this talent really comes from interest and excitement—or they are at least correlated. On one hand, this means that a healthy and sincere conversation with your team can make it easy to find these special talents. On the other hand, it means that putting this talent to work can be great for your team as well.
In general, engagement is a tricky problem. There is an extent to which we have to understand that many, if not most, workers are not incredibly excited to be doing the work that they’re doing. We all have to pay the bills, we all have to make it by, and even those of us who love our jobs the most understand that, sometimes, work is just work. However, when we get to do what we love and what we enjoy, it can be much easier to feel aligned with the work, with the workplace, and with the team. In this sense, identifying a team member’s superpower is also a superpower for the company.
When workers are allowed to focus on what impassions them, more often than not, they are empowered and feel a stronger connection to the work that they are doing. This benefits everybody in the picture, from nearby team members to consumers and stakeholders and everybody in between. Of course, there is always some dirty work to be done. Everyone doesn’t have their dream jobs, but it is possible! Identifying and employing superpowers is a great way to keep your team engaged with the brand and with the work that needs to be done.
A Real Life Superhero
This idea of finding and employing superpowers might seem simultaneously obvious and difficult to imagine. Sure, if there are outstanding talents to consider, it would be both a shame and a waste to not put these talents to work.
However, what do superpowers even look like? A bit of thought will make it obvious that one of the most well-known examples of a superpower in business is that of Steve Jobs. Arguably, Jobs had many superpowers, but his vision is probably his most memorable. More than anything, Jobs knew how people interacted with technology, and how they wanted to interact with technology. This allowed Apple to pave the path for practically all smart devices, and to define a style and aesthetic that remains the ideal nearly two decades later, and one that isn’t going anywhere. Granted, Jobs built his own path towards allowing himself to be a visionary, but the lesson is the same: Jobs probably would have been a fine employee otherwise, but allowing him(self) to stick to his passion redefined the technological world.
Passion is the root of the point. Whether or not intrinsic talent exists is a philosophical debate to be had in another space, but affinity and passion drive our best work across disciplines. As with Steve Jobs at Apple, identifying these talents and passions, or “superpowers”, can be a game changer. Not just for the results that your business sees, but also a game changer for the general environment and quality of your workplace for your workers.
Living Pono is dedicated to communicating business management concepts with Hawaiian values. Founded by Kevin May, an established and successful leader and mentor, Living Pono is your destination to learn about how to live your life righteously and how that can have positive effects in your career. If you have any questions, please leave a comment below or contact us here. Also, join our mailing list below, so you can be alerted when a new article is released.
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