As martial artists, we are far more likely to take an active role in our ongoing personal development than most people. It’s one of the things I love so much about our industry. However, in the quest for CANI (Constant And Never-ending Improvement), we often focus on improving whatever we see as our weakest link. And why not? It makes logical sense to improve what you’re worst at, right?
But what if I told you this approach... is BACKWARDS!?
Instead of focusing on what’s wrong, we should be focusing on – and building upon – what’s already RIGHT! Take Kareem Abdul Jabar in the movie “Game of Death” where he fights his real-life martial arts instructor Bruce Lee. If you haven’t seen it, go ahead and look it up, I’ll wait. You’ll see Kareem fights with a long, LONG game. Of course he does! While he could have pursued any fighting style, he smartly chose to focus on playing to his strengths – long range and effective use of distance. This was the core of his teacher’s philosophy – the honest expression of the individual over an organized “style.” The same is true in our everyday approach to life as well.
As you know, some people are better at fostering close relationships with others, while some have a presence that can influence and excite a crowd. Others still are great at thinking strategically, and some people just seem to have an ability to turn those ideas into reality. These are their unique talents. It’s what comes naturally for them. They approach most problems starting from that place of comfort before adjusting perspective if needed. And while we are all capable of working outside our natural and developed talents, the times we feel most like a fish in water is when we’re operating within them. We like to feel capable in the things we do, and that our contributions make a difference. To put it simply, individuals don’t need to be well-rounded, but teams do.
As the leader of a team, your goal is to leverage the talents or strengths of your team members as effectively as possible. Help them bring their talents to bear within their role for the good of the group. Extensive research around the behaviors of top-performing teams has revealed one item as the strongest predictor of exceptional team performance: a strong agreement with the statement “At work, I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day.”
Teams that do the best work have a variety of strengths represented across their members. No one person can be the best at everything and we won’t all approach a problem the exact same way. We don’t want sameness, we want diversity. When we as leaders can recognize the strengths in others and let them run free, great things happen.
What I do, you cannot do; but what you can do, I cannot do. The needs are great, and none of us, including me, ever do great things. But we can all do small things, with great love, and together we can do something wonderful.
--Mother Teresa of Calcutta
This week, look to identify the unique talents each member of your team brings to the table. What can you do to channel these skills towards the current team goal, and accomplish something wonderful?
At Kovars, we’ve built a common language for communicating our strengths through the use of the CliftonStrengths Top 5 Strengths Assessment. This reveals your Top 5 of 34 possible talents, with a personalized description of your strengths.
For more on how to develop your team through their strengths, Schedule an Appointment today to talk to one of our business success coaches.
Today's blog is written by Kovar Systems General Manager, Bryan Nay. He is a 3rd degree black belt in Kenpo and 2nd degree Black Belt in Olympic Tae Kwon Do. Nay also has a degree in Marketing and Human Resources Management from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo.