Leveraging Top Talent: Talent Management

Sections of this topic

    Do you have an exceptional performer on your team — a person who stands head and shoulders above everyone else?

    If you do, it can be a wonderful gift for a manager to have an employee whom you can count on to get the right results; who thinks about what else needs to be done without being told; who doesn’t need to be pushed or motivated; who is always asking to do more.

    Too often managers unintentionally hinder or discourage their star performers. This counter-productive behavior is not ill-intended. It’s often because the manager isn’t sure how to motivate someone who is exceptionally talented. If you are lucky enough to have such high performers on your team, try these three things to motivate you.

    1. Push them to the next level.
    Stretch and challenge stars. Find out what they are good at and what they need to learn and craft assignments accordingly.
    2. Let them shine.
    Don’t hide your stars. Give them visibility. Let others know what they are doing. When they look good, you do too.
    3. Let them go.
    Top performers need room to grow. If it makes sense for their career development, let them move on. They will appreciate it.

    Why Do It?

    First, it’s remarkably satisfying and gratifying to see someone grow their skills and abilities and know you had some small role to play in it. You’ll get emails and have connections with these folks for years to come. One of those gifts that just keep giving.

    Second, you are far more likely to get the opportunity to move on from your current role and do something new because you are more likely to have clear successors. One of your goals, as a manager or leader, should be to work yourself out of a job. As one manager said to me:

    “I get bored doing the same thing… so I make every effort to grow and recognize people who I supervise. If they shine, it shows that I’m a good manager of talent and then it opens doors to better assignments.”

    Management Success Tip

    It’s true that most people must work to survive and money is certainly a motivator — but up to a point. Money gets people in the door but it’s not what makes them stay or do their best work.
    For your employees to achieve great things, they need to experience purpose, recognition, and involvement. See the video “Drive: The surprising truth about what motivates us.”

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    • Copyright © 2012 Marcia Zidle business and leadership coach.