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Episode 66: Ways to Leverage Team Strengths

podcast May 02, 2023

In the last episode we talked about how to uncover the strengths of your team even in the middle of chaos. Not the individual team member strengths – but what collectively as a group emerges when you work together that makes the team better together. Let’s take the question deeper:

“How can we leverage the strengths we’ve identified for our team to work better together?”

If you’ve named that a strength of the team is that they are responsive to the needs of each other >> well then tomorrow when you go to work you might start seeing how they listen, step up, and help others.  You’ve put on a lens that changes how you see what is going on around you.

Now that we see them, how do we reinforce them?

Uncover strengths stories – on repeat

Every 3 to 6 months, repeat the session from the last episode where you identify the strengths you see in the stories. You’ll also get a chance to notice trends over time. 

  • What are some of the new strengths you see emerging? 
  • When you add people to the team, how does it influence team strengths?
  • What do you notice about what the team is capable of? 

Reinforcing Key Strengths

You see it’s not only about naming the strength, but clarifying the situations where that strength is a strength and what situations might derail that strength and burnout the team or negatively impact the client served by the team. If your team has a strength of responsiveness, then try out some questions like this:

  • What makes responsiveness an important strength for our work?
  • What are the kinds of situations that we need to respond to?
  • What are the situations that are okay to let go and not be so responsive?
  • How do we manage this strength of responsiveness so that doesn’t burn us out?

Embed a Strength into Process

It’s really about creating norms for how this team does what it does. All too often, norms are more like unwritten rules. If you’re around long enough you might be able to pick up on the team’s strengths, but nobody has really solidified that into the way work gets done. People just have to figure it out as they go. A way to really leverage a strength is to take the implicit understanding of how things get done and why it matters and make that explicit.

The more you can make the strengths you have as a team move from the unwritten rules to embedded in the way things get done then the more you are able to leverage that strength.

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