In the fast-paced and demanding world of modern work, it's all too easy to find ourselves caught in a perpetual cycle of tasks and responsibilities that leave us feeling drained and burnt out. However, there's a powerful antidote to this all-too-common problem: tapping into your unique talents and strengths.
To shed light on this empowering concept, I spoke with leadership expert Teri Schmidt. Teri is an accomplished leadership and performance coach and serves as the Director of Stronger to Serve Coaching & Teambuilding. With her wealth of experience and deep insights, she's here to provide a fresh perspective on the profound impact that aligning your talents with your tasks can have on your well-being and productivity.
Use Your Talents
When you engage in activities that come naturally to you, not only do you excel in your role, but you also find that these tasks have the remarkable ability to reenergize your spirit. According to Teri, doing something you're proficient at but that is not necessarily one of your core strengths or top talents is a form of self-neglect. Instead, the goal is to recharge our batteries with tasks that we find uniquely suited to our skills and interests. But how do you know what those are?
Teri suggests using multiple approaches if they’re available to you. First, there are many assessments, such as Clifton’s Strengths Finder, that can help you identify your unique skills and competencies. Second, do some self-reflection. What feels easy for you that others may struggle with? What tasks do you do that leave you feeling energized instead of drained? Third, ask your colleagues what they see as your superpower. What do they see as your best contributions to a recent project? What do they rely on you for?
Once you’ve gathered this information, you can triangulate and look for themes. Don’t be surprised if what others believe are your strengths are things you’d never think of. That’s what happened to me when I used this approach a few years ago. Often, we overlook the things that come most naturally to us.
Once you know what your unique talents and skills are, you want to find opportunities to use them. Teri recommends looking at your calendar and identifying what tasks you have coming up that will leverage your unique gifts. We should aim to use at least one of our strengths each day in order to recharge and avoid burnout.
Practice Your Values
To be an effective leader without neglecting ourselves, we need to be clear about our values. We must use these values to prioritize our tasks and set boundaries. Teri added that it protects us from burnout and prevents our teams from experiencing burnout, too, because when your team sees that you are setting boundaries and prioritizing work based on values, it provides them that sense of stability, knowing that you make decisions accordingly.
The same is true for team values. When the group collectively understands what’s important, the whole team is able to identify the right priorities while treating each other appropriately. Teri notes that shared values foster a stronger sense of belonging while also making it easier to know what’s expected and less awkward to give feedback, all of which are essential to thriving at work.
Help Your Team Avoid Burnout
According to Teri, as a leader or a manager, your first job is to figure out what the unique talents are for each of your team members. Once you know what those are, you can lead your team in a way that allows them to utilize those talents and contribute to the workplace, the community, and their family.
This talent-first approach of leadership allows you and your team members to capitalize on every person’s strengths to execute the work needed to achieve the collective vision without hitting burnout.
Burnout is a significant concern in today's modern workplaces. Managers, often seen as pillars of support in an organization, can easily fall victim to burnout. However, if you serve others by using your top talents and helping your team members discover their unique talents, everyone can accomplish great work without burning out.
Listen to my entire conversation with Teri HERE for an in-depth discussion about what truly leadership is and how you can use your talents to avoid burnout.
Connect with Teri:
- Follow Teri on LinkedIn here
- Subscribe to her Strong Leaders Serve podcast here
- Check out her website for more information here
Serve & Thrive Leadership Assessment (PLUS $100 discount code)
This short self-assessment will give you insight into any of the three burnout traps that well-meaning, empathetic leaders are often at risk of falling into, together with resources for learning how to avoid those traps.
In addition, the download includes a code for a $100 discount on Stronger to Serve's services, exclusive to members of The Modern Manager community and valid until Nov. 17, 2023.
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