“Ultimately my job, with the people who work for me, is to find your genius, and to help you find your genius. And if we can do that, that’s the magic.”
Amy Errett, Chief Execuitve of Madison Reed
When was the last time you purposely tried to discover the gifts or genius in your co-workers, team members or people you come into contact with daily? Maybe the better question is: Have you ever thought about what talents or strengths people have that you connect with at work, in a volunteer position or in a group or team you belong to? Or do you focus mostly on just getting the job done without thinking about each person’s unique abilities?
Attaining goals and creating a vision to guide a team is most definitely important. Teams must know what their game plan is and what each person will be held accountable. However leading others is not just about tasks and deadlines, but rather the interconnectedness of one another. It involves learning what each individual can best contribute and recognizing that everyone has special qualities.
How can leaders cultivate a trusting enough culture to build more open relationships where people are willing to share their passions and ideas?
Create an environment of acceptance
When we build relationships, we want them to be meaningful. The definition of meaningful is “adding value to life” and that is exactly what we try to do when we keep an open mind with others. We embrace the differences in each individual to collaborate on innovative approaches. Leaders who are able to welcome all types of backgrounds, skill sets, ideologies and working styles will create a place of great excitement and accomplishment. When each person is accepted for their “value contribution”, they are more willing to give their best performance and share their different points of view.
Have fun learning about each other
One of the best ways to gain more insight into your team members or people you collaborate with is to play games. Yes! Games can expand our minds while we laugh and play. An exercise I often use in my workshops is designing a coat of arms that describes a team. I might ask each person to choose an animal that reflects their personality or a “saying” that calls to them. Then I ask them to choose a color that represents what they want their team to stand for. Each time there is laughter and each person learns a little more about what is meaningful to others they work with routinely.
Commit to being an explorer
If a leader is committed to locating the best that each person has to offer, then they will. Being consistent in a search to understand what makes people tick and get excited is key to creating a positive and respectful workplace. Don’t just assume you know the drivers for people- ask them and be attentive in their responses without judging.
So are you ready to become a leader who finds genius in those around you? Are you already committed to discovering the best in everyone? How have you done it?