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Celebrating the Geniuses of Your Colleagues

I’ve always enjoyed solving problems. Brainstorming energizes me. As an extroverted Inventor, being surrounded by people who are attempting to solve seemingly ‘unsolvable’ problems is exhilarating. However, I often neglected to appreciate that someone was asking the questions we were answering. They were Wondering. The questions they crafted formed the framework for our brainstorming session. 

The Genius of Wonder

Wonder is the ability to ponder, speculate and question the state of things. A person with the Genius of Wonder contemplates if there is a different or better way. They identify the need for change, ask the appropriate questions, and examine the right problem. 

As some Wonderers process verbally while others do so internally, we can easily miss this Genius either because the Inventor quickly offers potential solutions or because we never ask a Wonder what they are contemplating. 

Ignoring the Genius of Wonder

There is no invention without Wonder. I didn’t recognize wonder as a Genius. I never considered the fact that others were asking the questions I was providing the answers to. I didn’t realize that I wouldn’t have anything to invent if someone wasn’t wondering. This impacted my teams in a variety of ways:

  • Wonderers felt ignored. I wasn’t allowing other team members to experience the joy and fulfilment of using their Genius. They were Wondering, but I wasn’t celebrating or even recognizing their contribution. As has been said on the WG podcast, ‘When you skip a Genius, you skip a person.’ My wonderers felt excluded and unappreciated.
  • I invented unnecessary solutions. When you aren’t asking the right question, you can’t invent the right solution. If your starting point is wrong, your conclusion will be as well. We need the Genius of Wonder to identify the right question. 
  • I took credit for Wondering. Wondering occurs so quickly and naturally, that the Inventor can end up believing they came up with the question. When you undervalue the contribution of the Genius of Wonder, you think you came up with the problem that needed solving. 

Thirdly, I Misunderstood the Genius of Enablement

I assumed my Galvanizing Genius enabled people to succeed. I have, after all, inspired them to get the task done. As the leader, I wrongly assumed that my ability to rally the troops was the same as supporting and helping them.  Again, this led to a great deal of frustration which included:

  • Undervaluing the Genius of Enablement. Every team member needs support and help. Because I viewed Enablement as unnecessary, I not only robbed those with the gift of Enablement of their joy and fulfilment, but it meant that many times tasks weren’t completed to the level of excellence the team could perform at.
  • I wrongly assumed that if we’ve trained and resourced you, you’re Enabled. Coming alongside to help, assist and support others, especially on their terms, exasperates me. Yet Enablement is critical to the Stages of Work. As stated in The Working Genius Podcast, #64, you need your Enablers to respond to the Galvanizers call. Enablers pick up the task, figure out what’s next and how to include other people.  Well-trained and resourced team members need enabling regularly, including myself. 

Years ago, I recognized that everyone needs help. We developed a system where we encouraged team members to assist others on the team, in their areas of expertise and passion, even if it wasn’t linked to their job description. Similarly, some of us had portions of our job description that we found exhausting while others found those tasks energizing. We did our best to compliment each other. Working Genius allowed me to understand how teams could function both productively and joyfully. 

I’m thankful the Table Group has developed Working Genius so that team members can know their Geniuses and teams can move though the Stages of Work. Each team member can experience joy and fulfilment at work, while the team excels at completing their tasks and projects. Identifying the gaps in my leadership has positioned me to be a more effective leader and team player.

If you’re wanting to know how Working Genius can assist you in your leadership and the way your team interacts, I would consider it a privilege to journey with you and your team through this process of discovering your Geniuses. You’ll be able to identify your strengths and like me, learn a few lessons, that will make you and your team more effective. 

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