Here’s 3 practical ways a manager can use Birkman…
Proviso: Birkman data belongs to the individual and it is their choice how much or little of it they share. If you have created an environment of trust amongst your team(s) then it is likely that your team members will be willing to share some or all of their data, especially if you lead the way by sharing some of your own. Depending on what report they have (e.g. Signature, Snapshot, expresso) they will have access to more or less of the available data but the points below will work for all.
1. Encourage the unique contribution and perspective each team member brings based on their motivations.
Notice and comment on what you see them doing in terms of the 4 Birkman Interest and Focus (expresso only) colours (Blue: Ideas, Yellow: Process, Red: Practical Action, Green: Selling and Communicating).
This can be broad or specific depending on their role and experience. Affirmation will build confidence. Suggest ways they can develop and build skill and expertise in these areas that are more ‘natural’ for them, while at the same time making sure they learn to do what’s necessary in the other areas, which they might tend to avoid because they are not so motivated by them.
2. Coach your team members in practical work areas or relationships
If there is an area of managing their work or working relationships that you are coaching your team member to improve in or manage better, their Birkman data can be a good place to start to build some accurate self-awareness.
Ask them to look at their Birkman Grid or Map and see what help it can give them in understanding what they are likely to focus on and what they are likely to ‘overlook’.
It will also show them how they will be perceived by others who may be different to them. Get them to look at their usual and needs scores - if these are aligned then they may be more transparent, if they are far apart, others will have a hard time ‘reading’ them and may fail to provide what they need.
3. Encourage your team members to learn to manage their own needs
It will be helpful for you to know what the key needs of your team members are; i.e. in broad terms be aware of what will support them to work at their best and what will likely send them into reactive behaviours.
However, you can’t, and shouldn’t be, taking responsibility for meeting all the different needs of your team members - that will be an impossible task! Instead, ask them to review what their Birkman Report indicates as potential triggers of their stress behaviour, and to consider what they can do to ensure they are getting their needs met.
A great way to build understanding of each other is to have ongoing team conversations around Birkman scores.
Simply sharing and discussing the implications of similar and different Birkman scores can provide great depths of insight, as well as some funny moments as people realise the source of their differences!
Ask for our Guide to Facilitating a Group Conversation and let us know which version of Birkman (Signature, expresso, Snapshot) you have so we can send you the relevant guide.