A Simple Exercise to Measure Your Strengths and Weaknesses

Do you want a real assessment of your performance?

Here is a simple exercise to get a glimpse of your current leadership strengths, weaknesses, and impact of your company culture. It takes less than 5 minutes.

First, jot down each list by hand, on your mobile device, computer, or print this and fill-in the blanks.

What are the 7 most important “things” one employee – a superstar, average, or struggling team member - wants from you, her/his manager, and/or your company, listed in order of priority?

List them below in order of priority. Place an "X" next to the frequency each one typically occurs.

Although they may share similar desires, each employee probably wants different things. When you focus on one person, it helps you consider how best to engage that individual. If you prefer, make a list for all of your direct reports, everyone on a team, or all employees in a group.

Now, flip the equation

How are you, their manager, and/or your company, fully engaging this individual or group of employees in a meaningful career?

List the 7 most important things you do for them in order of priority. Place an "X" next to the frequency each one typically occurs.

What are we looking for?

HOW you are engaging employees is equal to or greater than WHAT they want from their boss/employer.

In order for this to work, you need to remove all of your assumptions about how engaged your people are and list the real ways you, your leaders, and company are meeting their work-related needs.

Now, find out if your lists are correct

Your lists are probably inaccurate, but don't worry, there's a simple way to check. Simply ask the employee or group of employees to do the same exercise.

Do NOT share with them the two lists you wrote above before they write their own versions.

Ask them: What are the 7 most important “things” you want from me, your manager and/or our company, listed in order of priority?

Again, flip the equation

How am I, your manager, and/or our company fully engaging you in a meaningful career? List the 7 most important things we do for you in order of priority.

Compare your assessment to those of your employees. There will be differences, however, the key is to resolve them.

Understand the Differences

Differences between managers and employees is a common theme in troubled companies. They are most often due to a lack of Systematic Power, my first strand of 3Strands Leadership. Systems and processes are likely missing, broken, or need updates.

These systems are what I work on each week with Clients, as individual leaders or as an entire organization.

Here are some common gaps in an organization’s Systematic Power:

Inconsistent accountability

Leaders are often poor role models and they don't realize it. They have good intentions without a solid game plan, and it prevents positive results. This leads to excuses, and the ensuing drama kills any opportunities for consistent, sustained growth. Furthermore, any lack of integrity can magnify this problem until the company implodes.

Different standards

Many companies have competing internal standards. The result is an “us vs. them” mentality, whether it is between management and staff, or different work-groups. It destroys productivity, progress, and the ability to make tough, fair decisions in a reasonable time-frame.

A poor or non-existent hiring system

A poor hiring system cascades poor performance throughout a company. People are hired who do not match the needs of the position, or your culture, and it costs time, money, stress, and lost opportunities.

Lack of regular training, starting at the top

Companies often fail to train their employees on a regular basis in hard skills and soft skills. The result is a flourishing of bad habits throughout your organization. Poor productivity not only thrives, but is defended or accepted as reasonable.

What's the solution?

The solution to these problems is to first understand the areas in which your company is currently struggling. Use the surveys above to get started.

A little employee feedback can go a long way.

Once you have a measurement of your strengths and weaknesses you can take action. Expand on your strengths, while minimizing your weaknesses.

Do your employees love your pay-for-performance plan? Awesome. Do a quick review to make sure it is working properly, and confirm it's effectiveness with your team.

Do your employees want more feedback from management on their performance? Implement it. Get on a schedule of providing regular feedback to your team. Whether it's regular reviews, or a weekly habit of brief conversations, give them the feedback they need.

Take one step in the right direction and you'll be ready for another one.