Great leaders learn what each direct report likes to do and what s/he is good at doing in order to help each decide to want to do what s/he is good at and likes doing. It is worth the considerable effort and thoughtful analysis required because it increases the odds of executive engagement, happiness, and high-performance .
Many people want to do something different than what they like and what they are good at because they believe others think that something else is more valued.
The leader’s job is to learn what workers like and what they are good at and then to convince them that what they like and are good at are indeed valued so that they will WANT to do it.
Professional research (e.g., see Gallup research on strengths) shows that organizations whose workers are internally aligned in this way get and stay more engaged and perform dramatically better.
Consider, for example, several who accomplished much (e.g., Steve Jobs, Daniel Goleman, Krishna Dass, Ram Dass) who all spent time in an Indian ashram with Hindu guru Neem Karoli Baba just as they were starting their careers. Guru Baba got to know them each well and used his status as their yogi to give them permission to be who they really are.
Most people have to figure out for themselves how to chart the course of a fulfilled life. The best leaders strive to play a role like that of the enlightened yogi and assign those in their organization to do what they are good at doing while also getting them to want to do what they are good at, and like, doing.