What makes one good? To start, the requirement is
You must actively demonstrate your strengths as soon as possible.
What Are Strengths?
For our purposes, a strength is merely something that you are naturally good at; it does not have to be overly complicated for it to be useful in an environment.
Strengths > Weaknesses?
The “requirement” above might seem counterintuitive. Surely, our focus should not just be on strengths. Shouldn’t we also work on our weaknesses? Yes, we should find time to work on our weaknesses; however, in the context of a team, your strengths are of greater value to the whole than your weaknesses. In a well-balanced team where all members are showcasing their strengths; often you will find that other teammates are able to cover you in your weak areas and vice versa.
Examples of Strengths
Leaning into one’s strengths can boost morale and confidence. It is also a catalyst for trust building amongst teammates. The following are strengths that I have observed over the years.
This is the person on the team that is great at taking the initiative to update the documentation of your products. This individual can join a team and immediately make an impact as they learn new things and ramp up. They can help decrease the amount of inbounds requests that the team receives by making the documentation stronger. Teammates will notice and appreciate this.
“This Does Not Make Sense” Alerter
Every team needs a person who is not afraid to call out when something does not make sense. When working on a task as a group, there may be things that are not clear to anyone; however, no one is willing to call it out and address the ambiguity. It is in these situations where this strength shines. The person who has this “sixth sense” will help the team be focused, build morale and improve productivity.
The Framework Layer
This is the person on the team who is able to see the areas that need improvement in the day-to-day tasks of the team members. This person takes the initiative to automate, build libraries, tools and Frameworks to make the various tasks of the teammates better. Some organizations have whole teams dedicated to this purpose; however, it is great to have a framework minded person on the team to do the nitty-gritty work that needs to be done but often is not prioritized.
Ticket a Day Guru
This is the “assassin” that is able to complete a feature request or bug fix in a day. They are able to just get stuff done quickly and efficiently. This person is an all star that helps push the team’s productivity forward.
Test Accountability Chief
Often times individuals cut corners when it comes to testing. Certain features or capabilities can be hard or not currently possible to test. This individual will advocate for components to be well-tested and push to prioritize the tasks that need to be completed to accomplish this. This makes the overall confidence in the team’s work stronger, thus building morale.
This individual knows how to design systems fast and efficiently. They are able to prototype and get a working artifact up and running as a proof-of-concept. This individual pushes the team’s productivity forward.
The Social Influencer
This individual wears many hats. They make sure that everyone’s birthday, milestones and work anniversaries are acknowledged. They organize card signings, plan social and team building activities … they make the team a pleasant environment to be in. Their thoughtfulness builds team morale and cohesion.
Every team needs someone who can:
- Create a road map for the team to execute on.
- Consolidate the details of a discussion into a document that can be visualized and shared for further evaluation.
- Ensure that designs and tasks are well fleshed out in the team’s ticketing system.
- Meet with team members to understand their current work and challenges and translate these insights into action items.
- Meet with partner teams and customers to understand inbounds requests.
This individual is a leader that the team will appreciate.
This individual is always thinking about the future. They want to make sure that the team’s vision is clear and in alignment with their current work. Sometimes this means deprecating or retiring certain products … sometimes this means interviewing customers and thinking about future products or features that address their needs not necessarily their exact suggested implementation. Planning is necessary and common practice; however, strategic planning is not always prioritized. This individual can help solidify the relevance of your team in your organization.
Company Tech Stack Expert
This individual knows the company’s tech stack inside and out. Can’t figure out how to express a certain construct in the language your system is primarily written in … they got you. Need help with monitoring and deployment … they got you. Need to spin up a new service … they got you. This individual is an allstar. This individual usually enjoys teaching and has a solid mental model of how things work that they love to share.
It is very important to know your strengths because these are the pillars you will stand on in order to thrive and stand out in a given environment. We are all created with unique talents and gifts; so in a sense, everyone has it within themselves to stand out … in some cases, we just need to be intentional about it.