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How to improve employee performance by focusing on strengths

Sharon Florentine | March 4, 2016
Common sense says leaders should focus on addressing their teams' weaknesses to improve performance. If that’s your approach, you’re wrong.

Weakness versus fatal flaws

That doesn't mean you should just forget about weaknesses altogether -- there's a difference between what Clemmer refers to as weaknesses and "fatal flaws," which are areas that significantly, negatively impact your ability to do your job or be effective in a leadership role.

Focusing on building strengths starts with two initial steps, Clemmer says. The first is determining what a leader's top competencies are and the second is determining what organizational needs can be fulfilled by those competencies. Once those are determined, you can figure out where an employee's passion lies and try to align the three -- figuring out what their strengths are and how to apply those to account for both business needs and an employee's interests. "The leadership sweet spot is right in the overlap of those three. So you can use that to build plans and approaches that are situational, personal and customized," Clemmer says.

"The timing couldn't be better -- when I head back to work after the conference, I have to immediately jump into doing 360-degree performance reviews for my team. Knowing this mean,s I'll be more meticulous and methodical about highlighting and focusing on my team's strengths and seeing how we can build on those," say an IT manager for a large public university who wished to remain anonymous.


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