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Recognize the Gifts of your Team Members

Jan 21, 2013
By Jerry Murray

Categories: Leadership & Organizational Development

Recognize the Gifts of your Team Members

January 21, 2013

Recognize the Gifts of your Team Members by Jerry Murray

The other day, I attended a local baseball clinic with my 8 year old son Jared.  Like me, Jared loves baseball.  He could play every day of the week.

As a couple dozen kids lined up to start throwing, one particular kid named Jacob stood out to me.  I was fascinated by how gifted he is at catching the ball.  For young players, a game of catch often turns into a game of fetch.  As kids develop arm strength, coaches regularly remind young players to slow it down and throw to their target to give the kid receiving the ball a chance.  Jacob didn’t need any help to have a chance.  He caught everything – regardless of where it was thrown or how hard.  He had both great coordination and soft hands.

I played baseball from the time I was 5 until I was a senior in high school.  I’ve coached the sport for the last few years.  I’ve always enjoyed baseball.  From that perspective, it was not surprising how much fun I had watching this young player catch the ball.  As I think about it though, I realize that Jacob was most impressive to me because he had a gift that was different than mine.  I do NOT have soft hands.  I had a strong arm and was a decent fielder, but I never developed the type of hands that I saw in that young player.  Even today, my wife Kim will joke about how my lack of fine motor skills often turns basic household repair projects into major expenses (when someone gets called in to fix my mistakes). There are other things I’m good at – just not those requiring fine, precise movement.  It’s why I’d never be a great surgeon, carpenter or mechanic.  Even if I can understand the process, my hands are not likely to get the job done efficiently.

Standing there at the baseball clinic, I smiled as I considered how God gives each of us unique gifts.  It was a clear reminder.  Good teams attract team members with different gifts.  Great teams REQUIRE them.  Unfortunately, I can think of occasions when I discounted someone else’s gifts because they were different than mine.  I can also think of times when I allowed gift-envy to impact both my gratefulness for and use of my own talents.  Both thought processes limit the opportunity for optimal team effectiveness.

Look around your organization and smile at the different gifts that you see.  Notice the collection of talents; appreciate them; appreciate your own.  As you do, acknowledge one another’s gifts and encourage one another to use them to the best of their ability to reach your organization’s highest potential!

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