William Shakespeare was a legendary playwright, but he likely would have made a terrible accountant, and anyone who employed him as such would have suffered as a result. Everyone has the potential to stretch beyond their natural abilities and grow, but if you want to see your team really succeed, it pays to play to their strengths. Follow these steps to identify, utilize and maximize your employees’ strengths.

Identify Strengths

During interviews, prospective employees might describe themselves in terms like detail oriented or self-motivated, but that only gives you a small peek into their true abilities. To make the most of each employee’s potential, employers and managers can identify their strengths in some of the following ways:

  • Be open yourself. Have transparent conversations about your own strengths and weaknesses and listen carefully to how they respond.
  • Research their interests. Most people make a lot of information public in their social media profiles. Employers can find an indication of their personality strengths, interests and the skills they might not have thought to include in their resume.
  • Observe their actions with others. If employees tend to lead naturally and communicate effectively when they talk with their team before the meeting, or if they offer co-workers creative solutions to personal concerns, this gives you key insight into their abilities.
  • Conduct employee skills assessments.

Tell Them What You Know

A Gallup News publication says when people know their strengths and use them on the job, they’re six times more likely to be engaged.  Just learning where they’re strong makes employees 7.8 percent more productive on average. Once you’ve assessed their talents, let them know what you’ve found.

Provide Frequent Feedback

When managers have daily, affirmative conversations with their employees, the workers feel empowered. Prioritize frequent, positive interaction that focuses on reinforcing their strengths. Don’t just tell them they’re doing a good job, talk specifically about their ongoing projects and their daily activities. Link their work to the company’s vision to point out the value of what they do, and acknowledge how they contribute to your organization. Provide regular encouragement so employees feel satisfied and engaged.