Career & Work Life Matters, ISSN 2150-6299, Vol 3, no. 23
|One of benefits of understanding your personal strengths is that it allows you to see the gaps. This knowledge provides the foundation for building the type of support that is of most benefit to you. Read this issue to find out 3 steps you can take to create your personal support team for work and for life.|
Your Personal Support Team: 3 Steps to Finding Essential Members
In a recent article, networking experts, Anne Baber and Lynne Waymon, discussed why you need to consider “key players” when you are building your network. They suggest that you should assess whether or not you have individuals who can meet your needs in different ways. They recommend that you ask if your network includes individuals who can perform the following functions:
- Provide expertise and resources.
- Hold you accountable
- Give candid feedback
- Help you see the bigger picture
- Provide encouragement when the going gets tough.
I invite you to take this idea a step further by considering what is most important for you in light of your personal strengths and goals. Applying the principles of effective teams is a good place to begin. If your network is your personal team, do you feel like you have the resources you need? In the workplace, you may not have much say over who is in your work group. But when it comes to building your personal support network, you can choose according to your most important needs. Use the ideas below to get started.
1. Assess Your Strengths
According to Dr Meredith Belbin— author of “Management Teams: Why They Succeed Or Fail— team members ” seek out certain roles” and “perform most effectively in the ones that are most natural to them”. If you begin by assessing your personal strengths, you will have information about the areas in which you are most likely to be effective. Look for people who can take on roles that are important for your success but are outside of your strengths.
2. Identify the Gaps
Let’s consider an example. In his research on effective teams, Belbin identified nine key roles. Two of these are described as Plant and Implementer. The plant is the person whose strength is generating ideas. The implementer is the person who turns ideas into action. Both of these functions are necessary.
Are you happy playing with ideas, but struggle to act on them? How might you compensate for that? Who in your circle can help you focus and take action? If this is not your strength, and you don’t currently have that type of support, identify someone who can perform that function. See if you can add them to your personal support team. Ask how you can use your strengths to provide reciprocal support.
3. Set Priorities
In a group project, different roles are in the foreground at different phases of the project. Similarly, what you need evolves. Different needs will be more or less prominent at different times. As you think about your projects and goals, don’t forget to consider the types of support that will be of most benefit.
Do you have an unfinished project that would make a big difference if you could just get it completed? If that is a challenge for you, identify the source of the challenge. Do you need help with goal-setting and delegating. If so, you may need a “co-ordinator” – someone who can help you to clarify goals and delegate. Are you missing in-depth information about a particular area? If that’s the case, you need to identify someone who can fufill what Belbin describes as the “specialist” role. Do you need help with overcoming obstacles? The shaper role is someone who thrives under pressure. By analyzing your needs carefully, you will be able to identify the support that is most important.
Being proactive about building your personal support team is more important than ever as job changes are more frequent and there is greater uncertainty in the workplace.
Questions & Comments
What has been effective for you in creating the support you need?
Feel free to ask questions and share comments below.