Think for a second about your most recent workplace performance review. It probably involved sweaty palms while you awaited your boss’s critique, worried about the inevitable criticism or “needs for improvement”. Maybe you were nervous about whether or not you’d get a raise or bonus. Maybe you were even stressing about whether or not you’d keep your job.
Now imagine a workplace where you actually look forward to your reviews, if you have any at all. A place that values your unique skills and how they help you contribute to your role, and therefore to the overall success of the organization. Well guess what? That style of leadership does exist.
It’s called strength-based management—a method of leadership that focuses on an employee’s strengths, rather than weaknesses—and it’s changing not just the way people work, but the outcomes of their productivity, too. Studies have shown that these employees experience up to 23% engagement in their job roles. And the trickle-up effect of such a positive working environment is clear. Organizations that employ this innovative philosophy reap up to 29% in profit increase. Here’s how this positive approach helps not just employees, but businesses as a whole, and the principles behind how it works.
Rethink your structure
In the past, a standard 9 to 5 office wasn’t exactly the place to think outside the box and incorporate radical new workplace strategies—at least, not until the dot-com bubble and, especially, the millennial workforce. But those “same old” methods result in a tired and formulaic management strategy that doesn’t allow room for the creative growth of your employees—and therefore, your business. Don’t make the mistake of confusing outward accomplishments with unique characteristics. You might end up promoting someone with no mediation skills into a managing role that requires the very quality they lack.
People are multifaceted creatures outside of work, so why treat them any other way at the office? Ask them what they prefer, where they do best, and where they need help. This spawns a culture of trust and creativity, so that employees feel understood and appreciated. Most people are used to working “for” a job, rather than aligning themselves in a mutually beneficial role. Reworking the angle to be more harmonious results in a happier and, therefore more productive, employee. After all, we’re no longer in the generation when it was common to be loyal to an employer for one’s lifetime. Workers these days move onto the next thing if it’s a waste of their time. Create an environment that fosters innovation and appreciation and you’ll attract employees who want to stay and grow with your organization.
Clear Communication and an Open Culture
The power dynamic of a ruling boss and a subordinate worker is antiquated and, more importantly, toxic. Contrary to its intention, this type of relationship breeds fear, stress, and mistrust—and who can possibly perform to their potential or be creative under such duress? By spreading awareness of and your enthusiasm for a strength-based management style, you’ll earn the trust of your team, which will alleviate the burdens from employees who overcompensate, thinking they need to excel at every facet of their job role. After all, this just results in workers spreading themselves thin, rather than focusing on what they’re best at, which is counterproductive for them and the company as a whole.
Recalibrate Your Role
It’s not just about the employees, but the managers, too. You play a crucial role in the process of introducing a strength-based style of management, so shifting your own leadership style is essential. Your role will need to shift from one of strict managing to one that, instead, empowers employees—and not just around review time, but on a daily basis, by recognizing, congratulating, and aligning strengths. By making a habit of this, employees are rewarded with timely feedback, as opposed to an annual review, which relies on hindsight critique and therefore wastes time, energy, and resources. Meanwhile, a richly-featured organizational chart, such as the one we offer at Pingboard, can keep both employees and managers up-to-speed with new hires and shifting roles.
The Proof is in the Pudding
It’s hard to deny that strengths-based management cultivates a happier and more emotionally healthy workplace. In fact, according to a recent Gallup report, companies with high turnover rates saw improvements from 26-72 points, and even companies with low turnover rates saw their numbers drop. But that’s not to say the strengths philosophy is so idyllic that it completely forgets to address weaknesses with constructive criticism. Instead, it simply highlights the basic tenant that employees are most happy, and businesses most successful, when personal strengths are the priority, rather than focusing on deficiencies.
Author: Alisiana Peters
Alisiana is a senior marketing coordinator at HiringThing, an award-winning online recruiting software provider dedicated to changing the way businesses hire talent. Questions? Contact HiringThing Marketing.