Would you play your goal keeper at centre forward and then complain that they don’t score?

So, why do you complain when the visionary people in your team are unreliable?  When the analytical ones struggle to demonstrate emotional intelligence?  When the organised ones try to control you?  Seriously, what were you expecting?

Of course, you can’t tolerate a total absence of reliability, however visionary your visionary types.

And you wouldn’t be able to function if your analytical ones have no emotional intelligence whatsoever.  Nor if the organised types turn out to be obsessive control freaks.

So, reserve your judgement when it comes to the shadow side of your people’s strengths – every strength comes at a price, and whether or not that price is worth paying depends on how often you see the strength in action.  Focus too much on improving the shadow side, and you’ll cast yourself in the unpopular role of the referee trying to adjudicate over tree climbing competitions for fish.

Management theory encourages us to homogenise our team – so that everyone is merely competent at everything.  Enlightened managers, on the other hand, know that this is a recipe for frustration and under performance.  Enlightened managers, on the other hand, delegate in favour of an individual’s temperamental preferences, whilst offering support with an eye to that individual’s shadow side.

In short, enlightened managers love their people for their strengths, and view their weaknesses affectionately and supportively in light of this.

Unless the weakness in question is an unwillingness, or an inability, to learn.  In which case, at least as far as I’m concerned, judge away.  Complain loudly, and often.  This is the only unforgiveable one.

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