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All managers make use of individuals' talents, but great managers play a bigger game; they understand the potential of entire teams.
Performance reviews typically look at individuals, but managers are responsible for the output of a team, not just the team's components.
Great managers need the skills and tools to manage 'combinations' more than 'people'; and the skills and tools to plan for the short-term and long-term development of these combinations.
There are four types of people in nearly all teams. These types are so different from each other we can colour code them:
Great managers know that to get the potential of the whole team, they need all colours involved.
Think of any project. You need Yellow people involved to see the big picture and creatively design the options; you need Blue people to do the research and find the facts; you need Green people to schedule the work, and make sure it is done, and you need Red people to bring the team together and communicate the results.
The trouble is, when you combine these people into a single team, their colours are so different they can almost come to blows unless they value and respect each other's contribution. These misunderstandings are responsible for a great deal of mistrust, miscommunication and individual rivalry. %r r%
This is why Herrmann's Thinking Preferences is such a valuable tool for managing the output of the whole team. In a simple map you can see everyone's colour and the colour preference of the whole team. One manager said: "It was like seeing my team under a microscope. All the issues that I had known about previously became crystal clear and manageable."
When most managers do performance reviews they focus on areas that need to be improved, whereas, Herrmann says they should focus on areas of strength and find partners to cover any weaknesses. This way of thinking (focusing on strengths) is surprising to many of the managers I work with; however, they usually get the point when I ask them what they would write in Tiger Woods' performance review. Can you imagine writing: "Tiger is very good at golf, however, his tennis is rather weak. I want him to ease off his golf and spend more time practicing tennis."
When people focus on their strengths they make significant progress, often reaching near genius status in this area. Imagine having a team of geniuses working for you. Are you starting to get the picture? Focusing on strengths is incredibly empowering for the staff involved. They start to see you as a Buddha Hunter, someone dedicated to finding the golden Buddha that everyone has but few are fortunate enough to use regularly.
On the other hand, when people focus on their weaknesses and try to improve them, the best they can hope for is to become slightly less weak in these areas. Very quickly people get the message that they can only focus on strengths if they find partners to cover their weaknesses. This understanding drives people who previously misunderstood and often hated each other, towards becoming natural allies who need each other to grow.
Herrmann's Thinking Preferences, gives great managers a simple tool to:
Give me a call if I can help. In the meantime: Think BIG!
Virtual Group Business Consultants
free phone: 0800 4 virtual or +644 570 0727 or Skype Bruce.Holland
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Key words: Leadership, leadership development, leadership management, leadership training, leadership program, leadership skills