Helping others find their fit and then encouraging them to move ‘towards better’. This is what human strategy consultant, Simon Hurry, of the Human Strategy Group, believes to be an essential formula for exceptional leadership in the workspace.
But effective leadership never begins with others, Simon cautions; recapturing what it means to do great work involves leaders first reaching a level of self-mastery through knowing their best fit and understanding the ways in which they engage and work with others.
Simon recently joined the Child Nurse Practice Development Initiative in hosting a SAPA and SAAPS Pre-Congress workshop at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital on “Leadership: creating work that matters in a 24/7/365 economy”. Here he shared some of the principles that guide his strengths-based approach to workforce management.
“Doing work that matters – great work- happens when we are provided the space to create in the ways that we best create.”
Simon maintains that doing work that matters – great work – happens when we are provided the space to create in the ways that we best create. This shift of focus away from a ‘pull-up-your-socks-and-master-your-weaknesses’ approach acknowledges that we do not perform (create, produce or function) in exactly the same way as the next person, nor do we measure job satisfaction in the same manner. And, for Simon, job satisfaction is key:
“When we get what we value [out of life, relationships and work], happiness is achieved. It is important as individuals and leaders to remember that all of us were built to create; it is impossible to do great work without creating. Some of us just create different things, be it structure, relationship, energy or thought.”
Here, performance and success are not directly equated to output (i.e. the number of lists checked off, or tasks completed in a day). Rather, they are measured by whether or not we are working to our full potential as a result of understanding our fit, and finding ourselves correctly incorporated into a human resources system that understand the unique role we have to play as individuals within a team. Great output should then follow.
Because we have “no choice but to engage” in the workplace, says Simon, we may as well discover the ways that we best do so. He identifies four primary styles of engagement: we energise (motivate, influence and inspire), connect (build relationship), think (engage with the thought processes behind plans) or do (action/get on with job).
An understanding of each of these engagement styles (energising, connecting, thinking or doing), and their possible combinations, should provide leaders with an effective approach for working with themselves and their colleagues to transform teamwork into a creative partnership of individual values and engagement styles that gets a job done.
"Creating work that matters for others in a 24/7/365 economy" therefore involves leaders:
actively enrolling people in a vision (energising & connecting);
working with these people to determine the plan and timeline it will take to achieve the vision (connecting & thinking);
collaboratively developing an implementation strategy for the plan (connecting, thinking & doing);
and then implementing the plan, using the right people, with the appropriate skills sets (a little bit of connecting and a lot of doing).
Step one for leaders would be to know their fit. Visit www.gallupstrengthscenter.com to take the Clifton StrengthsFinder assessment and discover your top 5 strengths.