When we think of learning management, many of us automatically go to mandatory corporate training, or perhaps professional CE. That’s natural, but there’s so much more to learning management and helping your employees become their very best selves. One of the most crucial considerations for business owners, execs, and decision-makers is whether or not you’re helping your employees uncover their hidden genius.
What Is Inner Genius?
If you’re like many people, you assume that the term “genius” refers to super-intelligent people or those with incredible natural talents. You might think of a 12-year-old violin virtuoso, or maybe the next Stephen Hawking. While those are examples of genius, the truth is that everyone has something that we bring to the table that makes us unique, sets us apart, and helps us deliver incredible value. That’s what inner genius is – the convergence of those unique natural strengths, aptitudes, interests, and passions.
That seems to fly in the face of what society teaches – that most of us are just cogs in the machine, while the occasional true geniuses shine brightly for a brief moment in time. However, everyone can achieve greatness, to do amazing things. They simply need to be given the opportunity and the support to get there. That’s your role as an exec or decision-maker, much more so than ensuring the company’s bottom line stays in the black.
Finding the Sweet Spot
For many people, the biggest challenge in their professional life is finding the sweet spot. Most of us struggle to identify where we would fit best within a company, and that’s often because we don’t see how our personal strengths can align with company objectives, or we aren’t aware of our strengths in the first place. Often, our strengths lie hidden deep within because they may not be things that society teaches us are valuable in the first place. In fact, society actively fights against the idea that we all have something valuable to offer.
So, how do you find this place? How do employees go from being mere cogs to being superstars? It’s not so much about intelligence, as it is about believing in yourself and building the right habits. That must also be coupled with the ability to be your true self in the workplace and feel valued for that.
This is one role that management must fill. You must take a holistic view of your team. Yes, there’s a lot to be said for assessing employees based on their roles in the business. Bob’s a whiz with numbers, so he goes to accounting. Janet is great with people, so it’s HR for her. However, you need to drill down beyond that and come to value these people for their full being – the totality of who they are – not just for what they might offer the business.
Only when employees are valued for their entire self are they free to begin finding their inner genius. Otherwise, they’re pigeonholed, shoved into one small area of the company with little room to grow beyond those confines. It leads to frustration and stagnation, and it certainly doesn’t encourage people to do their best work.
To help employees (and their managers) identify this convergence, have them answer the following questions:
- What makes you feel most engaged in the workplace?
- What problems do you like to solve the most?
- What is the single most important goal you have for your career?
- If you could change one thing about the company, what would it be and why? How would you change it and what would your role be in that change?
With the answers to these questions, you should be able to begin homing in on where each employee’s area of genius lies. You might also be surprised that employees can bring their genius to bear in their current roles within the business, as well as using that genius as a guide to help inform skills development and career growth.
Putting Genius to Work
It’s not enough for employees to identify their inner genius, or for their managers to be cognizant of those contributions. It’s also important that your team members can put that genius to work. Why is that?
Simply put, it leads to greater engagement, enjoyment that can only come when employees are free to be their best selves, and it makes them feel that they are making more valuable contributions to the company. So, how do you ensure that everyone can put their inner genius to work?
- What made you feel like you were using your inner genius during the past week?
The answers to this question can help managers and employees home in on things they do regularly that tie into their inner genius. Once those have been identified, they can focus on including those things more frequently. They can also begin focusing on learning and development efforts that help them align with positions where those opportunities will be even more prevalent.
- What impact did you achieve in the past week?
Answering this question helps your employees better define their purpose, as well as what it takes to make them feel as though they have made a real, measurable difference in the workplace. Again, they can also use this information to inform their career development efforts and tailor training efforts to help them achieve a position that is best suited for their inner genius.
Free to Be Geniuses
For real learning and development to happen, employees must be free to use their inner genius. That doesn’t mean abandoning their duties now, but it does mean looking at their strengths, passions, interests, and capabilities, and then working with the employee to find ways that they can bring those to bear. The result is greater enjoyment, better engagement, increased employee retention, and the ability to compete within your industry.