Most of us think we know ourselves pretty well. We think we know what our skills are and how we apply them. But there is a lot of research that says this is not so and that we don’t really know ourselves or why we do what we do as well as we think.
Why is this? Sometimes it is as simple as different people using different words for the same skill. Are you expert at ‘front-end development’ or ‘web development’? Is that work you do to understand your customers ‘market segmentation’ or ‘customer targeting.’ In both these examples the two terms are not identical but people with one of the skills often have, and are often applying the other, often without thinking about it.
Sometimes it is because we regard the work to be so basic that it is not a skill. We are just doing what comes naturally or what everyone can do. I sometimes feel that way when I see a person claiming Microsoft Word as a skill (which happens quite often on LinkedIn). Now on LinkedIn, with its binary Yes/No endorsements, this does not make a lot of sense to me. But in fact Microsoft Word ( or any of the Microsoft Office products) is a very deep application with a lot of capabilities that few of us know about. There are Gurus in using Microsoft Word and sometimes it is very useful to be able to find these people.
Another reason to suggest a skill to a teammate is to encourage them to develop certain skills. They may have shown potential. Or expressed an aspiration to take their career in a certain direction. Being able to propose skills is a powerful way to encourage and direct a colleague.
Suggesting skills is a central to the May release of TeamFit. This release was not just about companies and how to help them understand the skills of their talent pool. It is also about strengthening the teams and one of the key ways we do this is by letting teammates suggest skills for each other.
Here is how it works.
On TeamFit skills are declared in the context of a project by team members. So go to any of your projects, select a person (or add them if they are missing) and simply add skills for them.
They will then have the option of adding this skill.
At which point you can go in and rate them.
It will then show up in their personal profile.
It is that simple. And it can be a great gift to a person you work with. Helping people to understand their skills or suggesting paths for skill development can change up a person’s career. And when you give you are like to get gifts back. The best people to help you understand your skills are the people you work with.