One of the characteristics of great leaders is understanding your people and finding ways to capitalize on their strengths to benefit both the individual and the organization.Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole is frustrating for everyone, it doesn’t feel right for the employee and the manager doesn’t get the results that he or she wants. This doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with the square peg or the round hole, it just means it’s not a good fit. I talked with a dairy manager recently who had a thorough and careful employee in the milking parlor, the trouble was that this employee could not keep up to the pace required for efficient operation of the parlor. The manager tried lots of different approaches to speed him up, but the job was just a poor fit. Then she asked him to try a different position: calf feeder. His caring, methodical, and detailed nature was perfect for baby calves, the calves thrived, the employee thrived, and so did the manager.
Great leaders work diligently to understand their people and to capitalize on their strengths. Chances are good that every organization has a few square holes that need to be filled. Great leaders have the creativity and the courage to see the advantages in a few unusual edges and find a place for their squares to thrive.