How to Help Employees Discover and Develop Their Unique Talents

How to Help Employees Discover and Develop Their Unique Talents

Any manager can find countless advice on how to find and attract the best people for their job.  There are specific questions to ask, qualities to look for, and incentives to offer. However, what about looking at existing employees for hidden strengths and talents?  All too often managers forget just how important it is to discover the unique talents of their employees and even more so how to continue developing these talents. That said a manager who makes an effort to further develop their employees will have a happier, more productive, and more successful team. Here are a few ways to discover the hidden strengths of your employees and what you can do to nurture them.  

Don’t just learn from mistakes…learn from successes!

When an employee does an excellent job, do more than just praise them.  Discuss the strengths of their accomplishment and ask them how they did it.  When an employee shares the process of how they accomplished a goal, it makes them aware of specific strengths and talents they may have previously overlooked.  They can use this new insight to complete future tasks and it also helps you to discover their skillset.

Encourage collaboration.

Your employees might possess skills that you didn’t even realize they had.  When employees work on individual tasks, it can be difficult to discover their methods for completing them.  No one is watching to see their thought process and their methodology for doing something. This can allow certain skills to go unnoticed.  However, when team members are encouraged to collaborate on a task, each of them is aware of what the others are doing. Employees may take notice of particular skills and talents possessed by their coworkers.  Collaboration is especially effective for discovering leadership qualities in employees.

Pay attention to what motivates your employees.

Think about what you would do with a few hours of free time.  Perhaps you would spend some time in the garden, go for a run, paint a piece of old furniture, or read a book.  Regardless of what you choose, it is important to note that more than likely you chose that specific task because it was something you were good at doing.  This gives insight to our natural talents. When you do something so well that you become invested in it and lose track of time, you are discovering something that you are passionate about.  Apply this same methodology to work. Are there certain tasks or projects that your employees really enjoy more than others? Maybe you have an employee who really enjoys putting together presentations or another who takes extra pride in developing the monthly newsletter.  Take notice of what motivates your employees because this is an indication of where their true talents lie.

Make professional development part of your company culture.

Managers should invest in ample opportunities for professional development.  This demonstrates a commitment to lifelong learning and it allows employees to further develop their skillset.  Professional development is about more than just building relevant job skills- it is about cultivating a workplace where employees are driven and motivated to find new ways to contribute ideas to the organization.

Ask your employees what their goals are and then commit to helping them reach those goals.  

We have all heard that there is a difference between managers and leaders.  Leaders are those who show their team members that they truly care about them by supporting them in their quest to achieve their goals.  Leaders take the time to talk with their employees to find out what goals they have and they actively invest in programs and work-related projects that will contribute to the personal development of these employees.  They provide ongoing guidance and support to help their employees achieve success.