“Hide not your talents.  They for use were made.  What’s a sundial in the shade?” – Benjamin Franklin

Happy February! 
I hope that your year is off to a great start.  This month I am going to talk about staff development.  Having a diverse but solid team is so vital for the success of a small business.  However, you cannot take a one size fits all approach to managing a team. Oftentimes business owners or hiring managers fail to realize this and subsequently they drive away great talent.  At the end of last year my team participated in the StrengthsFinder survey from the popular book by Tim Rath. 
It was a fun exercise for all of us and I think, speaking on behalf of the whole team, we all learned more about ourselves and our team members by going through it.  We also learned the common strengths that bind us all together. 
To that end, it was an invaluable exercise for me and my management team to go through because we became more aware of how we need to manage our team. As an example, when an employee’s performance is not up to snuff, or they are having difficulties in their role, often times it is natural to correct their mistakes and forget to praise them for what it is they’re doing correctly. 
This can lead to a defeated or dissatisfied employee, which results in less productivity for both the employee and the business.  Instead of taking that course, what is suggested is that employers should nurture their employees’ strengths in order to uplift their mind and spirit, as well as to increase productivity.  This does not mean you have to offer praise when gearing up to point out mistakes but rather to see how the employee processes and takes in information. 
Some employees simply hate public recognition while others thrive in environments where they are in the spotlight. Knowing what motivates your team allows you the chance to manage more effectively.Talent Map
Taking the StrengthsFinder assessment has been very beneficial for ProRecruiters.  Not only has it helped us understand our individual needs, but it has helped the staff understand one another and how we need to communicate with one another.   
Our Manager of Operations made a Talent Map (click the image on the right to see our team’s strengths!) that includes everyone’s particular five strengths for all to see, this has allowed the staff to peek into one another’s core personalities.  At the end of each chapter the book offers a section detailing how to work with that particular strength.  We used this information when divvying up special projects for the year. 
The book also mentions pairing one particular strength with another to achieve better workplace balance and harmony.  Such a suggestion is particularly useful because not only does it allow for the staff to better get to know one another; it gives insight into who will work most effectively with whom.
*Strengths Finder 2.0, Tim Rath, Gallup Press