One of your most important jobs as the leader is learning to spot and nurture the superpowers of the people on your team. Every person I have worked with has something that they are naturally great at. It’s not always obvious and it’s often not what I’ve hired them to do every day. Some people are naturally great at relating to other people and earning trust quickly. Others may be gifted at spotting the mistakes in a process or the typo in a written document. Still others may be naturally great at explaining complex ideas in a simple way so that everyone understands. I call these a person’s superpower. The interesting thing I find is that people often overlook their own superpower because it comes so easily to them that they assume everyone has it.
So I’ve made one of my cornerstone questions, when getting to know a team member, to ask “What are you naturally great at? What problem should I call on you to help me solve when I need help?” I find that I am usually the first person to ask another person that question. It often catches them off-guard and requires a little explanation and conversation. Sometimes this conversation helps another person admit their superpower for the first time and it can awaken them to a new direction in their career. Other times, they’ve honed their superpower for decades.
But I love to keep a mental list of exactly who I plan to call when I have a very specific problem and need a need a gifted person to help me solve that exact thing. Then I am quick to call them into the room any time we are working on a project that could use their superpower.
Not only does this result in you having a stable of people working in their natural strengths; it also fills your team with energy when they know you recognize and appreciate their God given talent.