How to Conduct a Gap Analysis

Good managers provide their teams with the necessary skills, tools, and resources to satisfy the company’s current needs. Great managers provide their teams with the resources they require to fulfil the company’s long-term objectives.

A gap analysis is a tool that managers can use to detect gaps between their teams’ existing talents and the skills they’ll need to meet future objectives.

The gap analysis doesn’t have to be difficult, but you must commit to a few things before you begin:

Acknowledge your shortcomings. It can be difficult to accept your mistakes, but in order to do an effective gap analysis, you must be brutally honest about what isn’t working in your company.

Also, be honest with yourself about your abilities. Don’t be too modest about your accomplishments. To assist you focus on the unfavourable parts of your organisation, you must first understand the positive aspects.

Keep your expectations in check. You’ll start defining goals for the future in the later stages of your gap analysis. Given your limits, these objectives must be reasonable and practical.

Be as precise as possible. Avoid ambiguous words or intangible results in any element of your gap analysis (current state, intended future state, and action plan). For both your current and future stages, make sure to include a mix of qualitative and quantitative measures.

These are the four steps to conducting a gap analysis:

  • Define the state you want to achieve in the future. Where do you see your company or team going?
  • Evaluate your current situation. What is the status of your team or company now?
  • Determine where the gaps are. What is the gap between where you are now and where you want to be?
  • Fill in the gaps. What particular steps can you take to help your staff develop the abilities they require?

An individual or organisational gap analysis can be performed. It can be used to assist people in charting their next steps in their growth, as well as departments, teams, and corporations in identifying their most critical needs. A gap analysis will assist you in determining the most effective allocation of training resources.

Make use of spreadsheets. Spreadsheets are a simple tool for doing numerical or metric-based gap analysis. In one column, write your target numbers, and in another, write your current numbers. Create a third column to automatically calculate the difference between the two columns and show where the gaps are. However, keep in mind that you’ll need to conduct some detective work and enquire as to why there is a discrepancy in determining the root cause of the gap.

The key takeaways

A gap analysis is a tool that managers use to detect gaps between their teams’ existing talents and the skills they’ll need to meet future objectives. It can be used to assist people in charting their next steps in their growth, as well as departments, teams, and corporations in identifying their most critical needs.

Managing the Multigenerational Workplace

Take a peek around your workplace. Who are your colleagues? Do you see any significant age differences? You’re in the majority if you do.

Something unusual is happening in today’s workplace, as you may have noticed. For the first time in history, older generations are remaining in the workforce for longer periods of time. The workforce is currently the most age-diverse it has ever been, thanks to the influx of younger generations.

In today’s workplace, there can be up to five generations working together:

  • Traditionalists are characterised by pride, prudence, and loyalty.
  • Baby boomers are known for their work ethic, competitiveness, and ambition.
  • Generation X is known for its self-reliance, independence, and entrepreneurial spirit.
  • Millennials are known for being tech-savvy and gregarious, as well as having a high regard for independence, flexibility, and feedback.
  • Generation Zers are social, tech-savvy, and entrepreneurial, and are defined by their diversity and innovation.

When you mix all of the above generations together, you’re going to run into issues like communication breakdowns, interpersonal conflicts, and differing work preferences. Your team is also vulnerable to stereotyping and bias.

Despite the difficulties, you can bridge the generation gap by using a variety of communication styles, providing work options, and encouraging cross-generational relationships.

Here are some ideas you may find useful:

  • Establish and foster communication.
  • Avoid stereotypes.
  • Be actively involved.
  • Use the right tools.
  • Avoid the ‘one size fits all’ approach.
  • Create a work-life balance.

Taking a personalised approach is at the heart of any effective plan. Treat your team members as individuals first. Understanding the differences across generations is beneficial, but there are no absolutes.

Finally, the most successful managers concentrate on individuals rather than categories.

The key takeaways

The workforce is currently the most age-diverse it has ever been, thanks to the influx of younger generations.

Traditionalists are characterised by pride, prudence, and loyalty.

Baby boomers are known for their work ethic and competitiveness.

Generation X is known for its self-reliance, independence, and entrepreneurial spirit.

Millennials are known for being tech-savvy and gregarious, as well as having a high regard for independence, flexibility, and feedback.

Generation Zers are social, tech-savvy, and entrepreneurial, and are defined by their diversity and innovation.

Understanding and Leveraging Different Work Styles

A person’s work style refers to how they prefer to complete tasks. People are most likely to associate one or two of the following styles:

  • Visualisers. Individuals who respect creativity, big ideas, and spontaneity.
  • Prioritsers. Competitive, logical, and candid analytical decision-makers.
  • Arrangers. Individuals who emphasise human connection, empathy, and diplomacy in their relationships.
  • Planners. Deliberate, thoughtful, and structured, methodical and detail oriented individuals.

The four work styles are based on characteristics you may be able to observe. Assign each person one or two dominating styles based on what you know about your team.

Then, by embracing what makes people different, tailoring your communication to the individual, and providing different job possibilities different styles, you can take advantage of that cognitive diversity.

If you follow those procedures, you’ll play a key part in assisting your team in achieving more together.

Adopt a custom approach. People are complex, and some team members may be on the borderline of several styles. Perhaps one of your team members is a Prioritiser who also values relationships. In these circumstances, take a unique strategy, combining tactics to appeal to the person behind the style.

The key takeaways

A person’s work style refers to how they prefer to complete tasks.

Assign each person one or two dominating styles based on what you know about your team.

Tailoring your communication to the individual, and providing different job possibilities different styles, can take advantage of cognitive diversity.

Tips for Improving Team Dynamics

The way people in a group communicate with one another has an impact on team dynamics. People work together to improve their performance when the dynamics are positive. When team dynamics are negative, members clash and fail to meet expectations.

Several factors contribute to challenges with team dynamics:

  • Blocking behaviours
  • Weak or domineering leadership
  • Groupthink
  • Free-riding
  • Evaluation apprehension.

Improve team dynamics by getting to know your team. Determine how each person works, what they require, and how you might assist them. Then, by defining responsibilities and expectations, you can establish accountability.

Create a culture of open communication and encourage social connection through team-building exercises to encourage the free flow of ideas.

Finally, keep an eye on your staff so you can reinforce or redirect their conduct as needed.

You can continue to improve team chemistry by using these tactics, resulting in a productive team that achieves more than any single person could.

Be patient: it takes time to improve. Relationships are at the heart of team dynamics, and they, like all relationships, require time to build. So, please be patient.

Don’t give up if your team is having trouble. Continue to use the five tactics discussed above, and keep in mind that progress takes time.

The key takeaways

Get to know your team by defining responsibilities and expectations and establish accountability.

Create a culture of open communication and encourage social connection through team-building exercises.

Be patient as it takes time to improve team dynamics, and don’t give up if your team is having trouble.

Characteristics of High-Performing Teams

A high-performing team generates consistent, high-quality outputs, but an average team is prone to variable results and conflict. Six fundamental criteria characterise a high-performing team:

  • A clear sense of direction. The team is united by a single goal, and everyone understands their role.
  • Transparency and open communication. People communicate openly and regularly, settling issues swiftly and encouraging cooperation and teamwork.
  • Shared ownership and accountability. No one takes a back seat when it comes to responsibility. Each person is responsible for their own weight.
  • Mutual trust and respect. Rather than doubting one another, team members have faith in one another and value what their colleagues have to offer.
  • Diverse skills and perspectives. These teams include people with a diverse range of work methods, personalities, backgrounds, and perspectives.
  • Flexibility and adaptability. Members of the team understand that if situations or demands change, they must evolve as well. These teams value education, progress, and innovation.

As a leader, consider where your team stands. Where are you missing the mark? What are your areas of strength? Look to instil as many of these attributes as possible as you grow your team, as this is the key to building your own high-performing team.

The characteristics are all interrelated. If one of your team’s characteristics is lacking, it’s likely that others are as well. Employees, for example, cannot share ownership without also sharing a common goal. The characteristics are all interrelated. As a result, be aware of the gaps. Focus on one attribute at a time if necessary, and the rest will fall into place over time.

The key takeaways

While an average team is prone to inconsistent results and conflict, a high-performing team produces consistent, high-quality results. These teams are made up of six foundational characteristics:

  • A strong sense of purpose.
  • Open communication and transparency.
  • Shared ownership and accountability.
  • Mutual trust and respect.
  • Diverse skills and perspectives
  • Flexibility and adaptability.

Common Roles in a Team

Team roles can be formal or informal.

Informal roles are more difficult to define than formal roles, which describe an individual’s job title or assigned position.

Team members naturally fill informal roles based on their behavioural patterns and interpersonal strengths.

Nine common team roles are listed in Belbin’s notion of team roles:

Are there numerous people performing the same tasks? Is it causing any tension?

  • Plant (creates ideas)
  • Resource Investigator (explores opportunities and contacts)
  • Co-ordinator (clarifies goals, promotes decision making)
  • Shaper (drives the team forward)
  • Teamworker (provides support and encourages cooperation)
  • Monitor Evaluator (discerning judgment)
  • Implementer (turns ideas into action)
  • Completer (attention to detail)
  • Specialist (technical knowledge and skills)

Discuss the various roles with your team, as well as the roles they recognise in themselves or others. Understanding and clarifying informal team roles are crucial stages in building a more resilient and well-rounded team.

Keep in mind that team roles represent behaviour patterns and interpersonal styles. While people prefer to take a specific team role, that role might shift based on the scenario and the other members of the team. Instead of forcing others to fit into strict boxes, use these roles as a flexible guide.

The key takeaways

  • Informal team roles can be more difficult to define than formal ones.
  • Team members naturally fill informal roles based on their behaviour patterns and interpersonal strengths.
  • Understanding and clarifying informal team roles are crucial stages in building a resilient and well-rounded team.
  • Use Belbin’s nine team roles as a flexible guide.

Transitioning from Peer to Boss

You’ve just received your promotion. You’re ready for it, even if you’re not totally comfortable with the new role.

While you may be feeling some butterflies, you’re eager to prove yourself.

It’s easy to take the first steps toward transition to management, but you want to do it thoughtfully and be prepared for what’s to come.

Taking on the role of manager is an exciting and gratifying experience. Helping others develop their abilities, progress as professionals, and attain increasingly ambitious goals can be extremely fulfilling.

When you shift from peer to boss, you shift from doing work to leading others through the process of accomplishing a goal.

The focus moves from doing work to supporting, guiding, and developing others in doing work. It’s a shift from working on a project to overseeing many projects. It’s a shift from working with people you trust to working with people you don’t know or control.

To manage a team successfully requires a shift in mentality and in your approach to your job. You need to reframe your goals and expectations. Your goals shift from being an expert in your job to being a facilitator who helps others become experts in their jobs.

With so much on the line, define your goals for the next year, put together a plan, and take steps to make it happen. Understand the role you’ll need to play as a manager.

The way a manager functions varies from organisation to organisation, but most managers will need to be able to do the following:

  • Hire and train staff.
  • Maintain a good working environment over time.
  • Delegate duties.
  • Assign Projects.
  • Create a work plan that can be followed efficiently.
  • Oversee existing processes.
  • Listen carefully and communicate well with clients and co-workers.
  • Manage time well from day to day.

People management is a talent that must be honed and mastered. If you aren’t where you want to be in a day, don’t be too hard on yourself.

Finding your management style, seeing what works, and practising and perfecting your talents will take some time.

The key takeaways

People management is a talent that must be honed and learned. Don’t be too hard on yourself if you aren’t where you want to be overnight.

Accepting your job as someone who supports, guides, and develops others can help you make a positive impact on your team.

Managing People with More Experience Than You

As a manager, you don’t need to be the brightest, most experienced, or most skilled person in the room.

While it would be nice to think that your staff would walk into your office, put all their problems on your desk, and leave when everything is solved, that’s just not reality.

The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert at everything – that’s what your team is for!

The people who work for you have been doing this longer than you have. They know the industry better than you do. They’ve worked with more end users. They’ve seen things go wrong before and know how to right the ship.

To get the best results from your team, all you need to do is invest in them and get out of their way.

Recognise and rely on the experience of your most senior team members. Leverage their experience to your advantage and solicit their advice—or turn to them for more technical advice or specialised knowledge.

As a manager, you should feel comfortable stepping in to redirect your team as needed or stepping back to allow more experienced employees to take on additional leadership tasks.

Also, ask how you can better help your team’s most experienced personnel and do everything you can to remove hurdles and expedite their performance to establish respect and credibility.

Take time to write down your managerial accomplishments and strengths on a daily or weekly basis. Writing things down helps you recognise how well you’re performing as a manager. Most importantly, writing helps you overcome self-doubt.

The moment you start thinking about delegating a task to one of your team members, find time to sit down and remind yourself why it’s important that you’re the one doing it.

The key takeaways

As a manager, you don’t need to be the brightest, most experienced, or most skilled person in the room.

Recognise and rely on the experience of your most senior team members.

Writing down your managerial accomplishments and strengths will help you overcome self-doubt.

7 New Manager Mistakes to Avoid

By becoming familiar with the most typical mistakes made by new managers, you will be able to spot the warning signs and better avoid them.

The most common error new managers make is expecting that the talents that made them an all-star employee will also make them an all-star manager.

New managers frequently struggle to accept their new responsibility and let go of old behaviours. As a result, they make mistakes like doing rather than delegating, being a friend rather than a supervisor, and losing sight of the overall picture.

Insecure new managers may overcompensate by acting unilaterally, or undercompensate by failing to stand up for their team and overcommitting them to higher management requests.

Finally, inexperienced managers may make the mistake of undercommunicating with their team or failing to devote enough time to getting to know and managing individuals.

Make no drastic adjustments too soon. New managers should be cautious about making radical changes too soon. Spend your time instead getting to know your people, learning more about their jobs, and understanding current systems and processes. Before making suggestions, do your homework. Better yet, solicit feedback from your staff on what they want to see changed.

The key takeaways

New managers frequently struggle to accept their new responsibility and let go of old behaviours.

As a new manager avoid these 7 mistakes:

  • Doing instead of delegating.
  • Being a buddy instead of a boss.
  • Acting unilaterally.
  • Under-communicating.
  • Not getting to know your team as individuals.
  • Overcommitting your team.
  • Losing sight of the big picture.

Insecure new managers may overcompensate by acting unilaterally.

Inexperienced managers may make the mistake of undercommunicating with their team or failing to devote enough time to getting to know individuals.

How to Transition from Peer to Manager

The transition from your team’s peer to their manager is an interesting one.

There’s this odd reality of your team making new relationships with one another while simultaneously trying to understand their relationship with you.

Transitioning from peer to manager involves presenting an identity that is different from your previous self; you can no longer open up and be vulnerable to your team. But by creating a positive, welcoming environment and showcasing your desire to help your employees succeed, they will feel appreciated and will work hard.

As you progress from your team’s peer to their manager, it’s natural to feel nervous or face criticism. Accept that your role, as well as the dynamics of your team, will need to change.

  • To reintroduce yourself as a leader, schedule one-on-one sessions with your staff.
  • Take it easy in your first few months as a manager, but don’t be afraid to have a frank discussion or set clear limits with former peers who act out or continue to treat you like one.
  • Stay humble and solicit ideas and knowledge from former colleagues, as well as engage in their development to gain their support.
  • Finally, keep in mind that the quickest method to establish respect and credibility is to act and speak appropriately. If you exude confidence and passion, your team will follow suit.

Negativity should be dealt with as soon as possible.

If one of your prior coworkers has a pessimistic attitude, don’t let it spread to the rest of the team. Instead, deal with the issue as soon as possible. Have a private conversation with them and explain that while the adjustment will be difficult, the team’s success is contingent on everyone maintaining a positive attitude and an open mind.

The key takeaways

  • As a new manager, it’s natural to feel nervous or face criticism.
  • To reintroduce yourself as a leader, schedule one-on-one sessions with your staff.
  • If you exude confidence and passion, your team will follow suit.
  • The quickest way to establish respect and credibility is to act and speak appropriately.
  • Allowing a negative attitude to permeate to the rest of the team is not a good idea at all.
  • Have a private talk with your team and explain that while the transition will be challenging, it will only be possible if everyone keeps an optimistic attitude.

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