Don’t Assume They’re Interested

Paul Berggren
2 min readFeb 10, 2021

Part of developing talent is connecting people with what they enjoy doing.

Photo by Samuel Regan-Asante on Unsplash

When you’re giving someone advice or directing them to do something because they are good at it, it’s easy to assume they must like it. Parents quickly find out whether or not their kids like something or not because kids are willing to tell you. A boss can do the same thing except employees are less likely to speak up. In this case the boss may not care and just wants to get the task finished by someone who will comply.

Adults have learned to just cope with being told what to do. After all, it’s easier to just go along with it then to push back against your boss, a friend with a strong personality, or a spouse. And if no one pushes back, then it’s easy to assume that a person likes to do what you just asked them or told them to do.

This may work if you’re just doing basic menial tasks, but what if you want quality work, consistently? What if you are trying to help the other person become much more effective as a person or employee? Does it matter if they’re building a skill and either like or don’t like doing it?

Compare your best work that other people complement as high-quality that you love to do with work that you may have some skill but really do not enjoy. Can you see the difference? Why assume when you can just ask and get to know what makes the other person tick?

I know of a leader who had an “aha” moment realizing that other people have their own interests. In a task driven leadership role, this emerging leader was so focused on the task and process that personal interest got lost sometimes. If people on the team had skill, they were assigned duty. But what happens when you combine strength, skill, AND personal interest?

When you take the time to know what is interesting to children and adults, then combine that with learning a new skill… magic happens. You don’t have to motivate them from the outside in. They take the motivation they were born with in fuel their own fire in the belly. The more you tap into the fire within, the less you have to lead with carrots or sticks.

Focusing on strengths just adds. Focusing on strength and interest multiplies.

Life is a team sport. It’s much easier when you help your team multiply.



Paul Berggren

I help people listen and learn from each other. As President of Crown Global HR, I bring clarity to growing and hiring people.