A D5M Listening Goal: Identify Partner Gifts

Let’s take another look at the circular “Career Adventure” graphic shared yesterday from another perspective, one within the Alaka‘i Manager’s gifting of The Daily Five Minutes.

If you’re already doing the D5M, yet suspect you could recharge your practice with it, this post is for you!

The core purpose of The Daily Five Minutes is this: Managers seek to know those on their team better, by gifting them with 5 minutes of their full attention (one person, one day at a time) so each person can feel they are fully heard — and thus, fully valued.

How better can you value someone, than by giving them a forum in which to explore their creative gifts?

SIDEBAR: Learn more about The Daily Five Minutes HERE if you are new to Talking Story and hearing about it for the first time. Know too, that in Managing with Aloha we call our teammates ‘partners’ instead of ‘employees.’

The agenda of the D5M conversation is up to the partner, (in their gracious receiving) and not the manager (in their generous giving), and managers are encouraged to take what they hear at face value, so both people can speak into it directly, and honestly.


Our D5M goal to LISTEN does not change

A manager’s patience is required in the beginning of a D5M giver/receiver relationship, for the manager-as-giver has no say in the agenda; you have to listen to, and acknowledge whatever is said. And in the beginning, that simple, pure purpose is vitally important, for the depth of your attention is another kind of gauge — one by which your receiver assesses the degree of your listening sincerity, and your Ho‘ohanohano respect for them.

As a manager, you must resist any urges you have to overly influence your partner/receiver’s agendas — you’re supposed to be taking a break from ‘managing’ in the D5M (and from talking too much at all) and just listen and respond to what they want. Their agendas are important to them, and you must demonstrate that they are therefore important to you.

So if you are starting brand new D5M relationships, I want you to read the rest of this posting as what you can anticipate doing over time. To use the wise coaching of Stephen R. Covey in his 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, a book highly recommended by Carol Eikleberry (and me!) for character-building, you can “Begin with the End in Mind.”

‘The End’ I propose to you, is that you are listening as deeply as you can, no matter what is said in a D5M, to better understand what your partner/receiver’s gifts are. You are simply listening deeper, and framing what is actually said (and what you must respond to directly), so you can hear talent talking.

After knowing them ‘better’ seek to know them ‘thoroughly’

Once a person begins to identify their own gifts, they can’t help but talk about them. However most of us don’t have someone we can talk to about our gifts, where we don’t feel like we’re bragging or wallowing in selfish, arrogant ho‘okano pride, but are supposed to talk about them, and can do so in the context of work that everyone would love to have us magnificently perform each day.

Another note on this, is that few people will call their potential a gift: You are the one who has to listen that way.

You are listening for clues to their talents, their strengths, and for ways they feel they can overcome any weaknesses. You are listening for what fills them with energy versus what saps it away. You are listening for what they want to learn about, or grow into, and why, trying to zero in on what they will then do with their new knowledge and/or skills.

For instance, if nearly all Claire talks to you about in her D5M opportunities are about conflicts between other people on the team, is she gossiping, or is she highly empathetic, and sensitive to person-to-person conflicts that affect overall work productivity? Can she be equally sensitive in watching for more solutions too, having the benefit of your coaching to groom her empathy more proactively?

This might sound tricky to you at first, but trust me on this, it actually isn’t difficult at all once you have intentionally set out to practice it, much in the same way that if I tell you to “Look around for the color blue,” you begin to see it everywhere, and even when I say, “Enough already!”

Plus when someone feels that talking about their own gifts is expected and welcomed, the floodgates will open, and managers needn’t be good investigative detectives — they just have to listen with the intention of receiving the information well.

So what is “receiving it well?” It’s helping your partners find more ways that they can move to the next step in the Career Adventure circle, from accepting their gifts, to working with their gifts with your full support and blessing — and your coaching and mentorship.

In short, the D5M gives you a way where no one need to take a more creative career adventure alone.

Begin to carry a brand new D5M coaching notebook!

Take another look at this graphic. Write the name of your next D5M partner/receiver in the middle of the circle, and ask yourself: What do I already know about their gifts (strengths, skills, ability, capacity), and what must I still learn about them?

Work With Your Gifts

The reality of so many workplaces is that people may know their gifts, but not feel they have the permission and liberty to use them in more creative ways. So dear manager, give them that permission and liberty, along with your blessing and willingness to help them.

If you click directly on this post’s version of the graphic above, you’ll be taken to my Flickr page, where you can download it in different sizes. Make a bunch of copies, one for each person on your team you’re giving The Daily Five Minutes to, and use it for another 2 or 3 minutes of note-taking when your next D5M with them is over: What gifts did you hear about, and where is your partnership on the circle?

Then, next time you have some project assignments to make, pull out your notebook and flip through it: Which of your D5M partners are ready for a new, and very relevant connection?