Friday, November 27th, 2020

Is Your Team “Filet Mignon” or “Yesterday’s Leftovers?”

By Natasha Golinsky on Dec 19 2011 • Filed under Business

Is your team filet mignon or yesterday's leftovers? (Photo: Charles Thompson)Have you ever met the type of person who can look at a fridge full of boring ingredients and whip up the most spectacular entrée complete with a wide variety of healthy sides and a delicious dessert to complete the meal? I look at people who can do that and always think “how in the world did they do that?” Where I see a potential dish of boring old pasta, they see an incredible meal just waiting to be created.

In making dinner last night I got to thinking about cooking and leadership. What is the common ingredient of leaders who seem to get so much out of their teams while other leaders inspire nothing more than apathetic compliance from their staff? What makes the difference between the masterpiece meal creators and those who just make fill-the-hole meals when both have the same ingredients to work with?

From my work with all different types of organizations, I have come to see that people who lead great teams do not necessarily have a “better” team but are better at tapping into the true strengths of the individuals on those teams. They have the ability to get to the core of who that person is, find their passion and then assign them to an appropriate role where they will feel fulfilled and challenged.

An inefficient leader; however, delegates roles based on the operational to-do list without giving much attention to what could be accomplished if the right people were in the right roles. This person is lazier because taking the time to discover what incredible talent lies right under your nose is a long process of exploration and emotional involvement on the part of both the team leader and their team mate.

Is it easier to just go for a quick fix as opposed to setting your intention to create a masterpiece out of the resources you have? Of course, but what if someone were to tell you that inside your team you already had a marketing genius, a technology whiz, and a team building expert but you never took the time to find out?

Three steps to help you tap into your team’s talents:

  1. Sit down one-on-one with each person on your team and sincerely ask them: so what do you love about your job? What do you hate? If you could do anything here, which role would you choose? What part of this team accomplishing it’s goal are you most passionate about?

  1. Show you’re serious by taking notes as your teammate is talking. Use lead phrases like “tell me more what you mean by that?” and “so how exactly did you do that?” People love to talk about themselves and will be grateful for the attention you’re giving them.

  1. Listen with no agenda. Don’t use the time to try to find them a different role on the team or to do a performance review. Just listen – review your notes later once they’ve left.

After you’ve completed this process with every person on your team, set your goal to make a magnificent entrée out of the ingredients you have. It will take some trial-and-error and will be a lot more work but I guarantee you that will be a meal worth making.


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