Have you ever been surprised by what someone can do, besides their regular job? I know I have! We often see people view people through the roles we know them in but, by doing that, we can miss out on other cool skills and hobbies they have! This is true for both our personal and professional relationships.
On the personal side, a friend of mine recently shared her surprise when she found a close relative just self-published a book of poetry. She never knew this person had an interest in poetry, let alone had been writing for years. In our professional relationships, we might not know that the quiet person who helps in the office is good with computers, or that the new intern is great at designing processes or, is artistic and would be wonderful at designing that new web page we’ve been thinking about! If we don’t take time to really know our colleagues and their talents, we may be missing out on valuable resources that could make a team stronger. Even worse, we may not be playing to our team members talents, which could lead to job dissatisfaction.
When we take time to learn about the different skills and interests that our colleagues and teammates have, we can build stronger, more creative, and collaborative teams which will lead to a better product. Recognizing and using people’s hidden talents usually also leads to a happier team, one that will work more effectively and feel appreciated for their individual talents, and not just their specific role.
So, how can we spot and use these different skills? We should talk openly and be curious about each other and be willing to listen. Sometimes, it’s a casual comment that may lead to learning about a team member’s skill; if you listen carefully, you’ll find its right there in front of you! Team leaders can find out what skills their employees have or let team members talk about their hobbies and interests. Team activities or casual meetups are also good ways to see people’s talents; a friendly and open workplace lets people feel safe to share their skills.
It’s not always easy; sometimes people don’t like to change how things are done, or they might not believe in new skills right away or even may not want to talk about their interests. To get past this, we need to start valuing flexibility, learning new things, and including everyone. It’s about making a place where every skill is seen as useful.
In the end, it’s important not to judge people just only by what you know they are good at. That places them in an unintentional box. By being open to all the talents around us, we make our teams and projects better and create a respectful and welcoming environment and may learn some interesting things along the way. Let’s try to find and value the hidden skills in everyone.
“True happiness involves the full use of one’s power and talents.” – John W. Gardner
This weekend, go treasure hunting.
Have a great weekend.