There is an exceptional book on the market entitled, "NOW, Discover your strengths", written by Marcos Buckingham and Donald Clifton, Ph.D. This is a book that helps you understand your unique talents and strengths as well as those you manage. According to this book, there are 34 strengthsfinder themes:
restoration*self-ssurance*significance*strategic*woo (winning others over)
What would the benefits be of understanding what your employee's top 5 are? How would you use them to interact with those employees?
Strengths and weaknesses are often the difference between success and failure. Too much emphasis on weaknesses, even by well-meaning managers, usually demotivates people and causes high turnover in business. There is thus a cycle of dissatisfaction and no recognition or acceptance of responsibility on the part of either employer or employee. Communication Science or research explores the complex reasons why employers need to be aware of and sensitive to their employees' motivations in order to succeed. Employers can channel what motivates an employee and align this with the company's goals.
A good employer will concentrate on how to get the best out of his employees. He cannot do this effectively unless he knows where their strengths lie. An employee who has good people skills and can show empathy towards concerned relatives of an accident victim, for example, would not be satisfied doing a job in the filing room or archives where people contact is minimized. Equally so, a person who likes to be alone and is not necessarily a good listener but has a really good eye for detail and can file or document quickly and efficiently would be wasted on the hospital floor as a liaison. An employer may have cause to constantly correct these two employees if they are in the wrong jobs. The misplaced filing clerk would probably talk too much at the first opportunity and not get the filing finished and the misplaced hospital liaison would probably need intervention if he upsets a patient or fails to communicate important information in terms of his job. Switched around, both these employees would have job satisfaction and an impressed employer, hopefully resulting in praise, mutual respect and trust as the employer can relax knowing the job is being done well. In turn, the employee has pride in his efforts.
Interacting with employees who are in the best job for their skills and strengths is usually stress-free as there is a shared admiration or at least a recognition that, from the employee's perspective, his employer is putting his needs first and, from the employer's perspective, he feels that he is getting value for money and can spend time on discussions that are important instead of trivial detail or irritating issues. An ongoing, improved relationship continues the positive progression of both company and individual. This will also allow for continuing development as an employer becomes more familiar with an employee's top 5 strengths and adapts to suit the employee, ensuring that the employee remains in the best position, rather than stagnating. This is also a perfect opportunity for employers to expand their business if their employees' skills can be useful in expansion. Loyalty develops and a cycle of development and growth ensues.