Many businesses are missing an opportunity to tap
into the greatest strengths of the people who work there. And those who
lead and manage those businesses do not feel that their department or
organization utilizes what they perceive to be their own greatest
strengths as well.
When asked in a nationwide survey how well their department and/or
organization taps into the greatest strengths of the people who work
there, 22 percent of senior executives and managers said extremely
When it comes to how well their own greatest strengths were utilized by
the people they work for, 28 percent said extremely well, according to
the survey conducted by NFI Research.
However, fewer managers than senior executives feel their organizations
use their greatest strengths. And regarding the size of the business,
more executives and managers at smaller companies rather than large
companies feel their greatest strengths are being tapped.
“In my experience, it is the rare company that actively focuses
on fully utilizing the strengths of its employees,” said one survey
respondent. “Certainly, they hire based on talent, but they do not
necessarily look to maximize all the talents and strengths of their
employees. Too often, we settle for getting the job done, and do not
capitalize on the strengths of our employees.”
The great problem with an organization not capitalizing on its employees’ greatest strengths is one of missed opportunity.
The business misses leveraging inherent skills of an individual
while that person gets frustrated feeling under-utilized. Even worse,
the business might be pressuring an employee, manager or executive to
perform tasks and functions that play to the person’s greatest
weaknesses, causing more frustration and increasing stress.
“The organization does not look at what people do well,” said
one respondent. “They more or less dictate what they think you should
do well for their perception of your job. For example, a network
administrator was told that he should program and implement a database,
because it has to do with computers.”
Of course, an organization might also make the mistake of
asking a person to continually perform a certain task because that
individual appears to be very good at performing that particular task.
What the manager may not realize is the amount of effort the person has
to expend on the task vs. someone else who might perform the same task
equally well, with much less effort. It all comes down to being able to
properly tap the most significant strengths of each individual.
Perfectly matching the task at hand to the proper individual presents
organizations with great opportunity, though it can be somewhat
challenging at times.
“Because of all the cutbacks, employees (myself included) have
to pick up extra duties that are time consuming, yet must be done,”
said a respondent. “Time devoted to tasks that were once completed by
another employee is not time and talent well spent.”
“Working with a very small staff, our main issue in this area
is the amount of time and stress involved in doing things that are
necessary, but are not core competencies for an individual,” said
another survey respondent. “Too often the strengths of a particular
person are underutilized because of the responsibilities that fall
outside of their giftedness.”
Individuals at work should pause to take inventory of what they
perceive to be their greatest strengths and attempt to match those
strengths with the right job.