In a crowded room filled with chatter, he would be the quiet one. He responds kindly when spoken to, and smiles politely; but beyond that, the conversation is limited. That is, until you say something like, “I had this server problem the other day. I know nothing about servers, but it caused one major issue!”
And then it happens…
His face lights up, the smile turns dramatically upward, and, with a lilt in his voice, he launches into a language that is foreign to you, but sounds quite impressive nonetheless. “It was likely related to the…which just recently…I’ve been researching this. There are some very exciting developments in this area.”
And then he says the words you DO understand quite well: “I could have fixed that for you. Let me know if it happens again, and I will be glad to take a look at it.”
What is an insurmountable problem to you is something that that is easy for him. Before you know it, “the quiet one” has just spoken for thirty minutes.
This is what happens when you tap into someone’s strengths.
You set the stage for them to shine. You give them a comfortable place to speak…and, believe me, they will!
It is likely that others have done that for you as well.
This is what collaboration in the workplace is like.
You set the stage by asking someone about something for which they have strengths, passion, and expertise. It is about giving each person a chance to shine, simply by sharing with them a problem you know they can fix or enlisting their expertise in a project that is in their strengths zone.
How do you know you’re hitting the mark?
Listen to voice inflection, and watch their face. If they talk louder, faster, and more, you have just given them the stage.
If their face falls, they look down, or go quiet, take this as a sign that you may have just presented an opportunity that is not a good fit for them. If they look burdened by it, they are.
The quiet ones are not always introverts.
You may have tried to engage someone in a conversation – someone who is normally an extrovert – but received little response. It could be they are mentally gauging if you are there to ask them a meaningful question or just waste their time. In their mind, if something is not relevant, there is not a need for conversation. It could be that you are not setting the stage for them.
The fact is, most people will respond to the right questions and solve the right problems if you give them the chance.
Here are some examples you as a leader can use to enlist the collaborative efforts of your team.
- Can you work with me to set goals for next quarter?
- What is the fastest way to do this?
- I saw where you ran a marathon last weekend. Congratulations! How did you train for it?
- I need some marketing ideas for reaching new prospects – do you have some ideas?
- Would you be interested in spearheading the next “Bring Your Child to Work Day?”
- Do you have any connections for…?
- My office is a mess! I can’t find anything on my desk.
- I am overwhelmed with all these details. I don’t even know where to begin. Can you help me?
- One of our co-workers is having surgery next week. What can we do for them?
- Can you help me set up a budget?
- We have a computer issue! Do you know what it could be?
- Would you mind checking this for quality?
These are the kinds of questions and statements that set the stage for the individuals on your team to shine.
Are YOU setting the stage for each member of your team?
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.