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Have you recognized your employees strengths?

September 27, 2010 Leave a comment

I once had a job as a data entry clerk at a very large organization, and I was very very bad at it, well at least half of it. I made a lot of errors, I frequently had to do corrections that cost time and energy of not just myself but of those around me, I hated it, and I always felt I was on the verge of being fired.

I went out and found a new job and when I went in to give my two weeks notice my boss asked me what it would take for me to stay. I was floored, he wanted me to stay? Why? It is not like I was some highly skilled, irreplaceable talent. It turns out that I was excellent at the other half of my job, the customer service and problem solving area, and in his mind that far outweighed how bad I was at data entry. THAT would have been nice to know before I put myself out there, interviewed and was rejected for many a job!

I did not stay, I moved on, but this lends itself to some questions. Why didn’t my boss every give me any feedback about this? Why did he still have me doing the data entry aspect of the job? Why did he still have the people who were good at data entry but poor at customer service doing the customer service job? I could name half a dozen of my fellow clerks who would have jumped at the chance to take over my data entry if they never had to deal with the customers.

In some cases you hire a person to do a job, they stink at it, and you have to fire them because there is simply no place for them. In this case my boss could have made simple duty changes for a few people and had a much more effective organization just recognizing our individual strengths, no training or employee turnover required. Remember as a leader it is part of your job to be aware and constantly thinking about how to most effectively run your staff, open your eyes and recognize your peoples strengths.

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