When we lead teams, we have 2 main focus in mind:
performance sustainability and legacy building.
Performance is only worth if we can maintain it over time, hence we need to spot talents who will compensate the natural turnover and keep growing the legacy.
Yet, how to easily spot talents?
We spend two days in offsite meetings and discover that this team member we hardly talked to for the last three years is about to leave for our Japanese competitor. All this while, we never have thought he could speak Japanese while we actually needed this in the department next door…
Too late, too bad…
The more we connect with people at different levels, the more surprised we are about the variety of talents people have.
Typical process follows these steps:
- building trust from a genuine interest for all to share openly,
- asking surprising questions with genuine curiosity,
- thinking creatively to find how to put these talents at use in a working context.
Listen to the echo
When people excel in something, others tend to notice and share about this. They may not share on our organization’s intranet, but social media typically echo these.
The latest jazz concert where one of our team members played probably has been posted somewhere and we may trust the informal talks around the coffee machine about a talented musician. Chances are this fellow knows a thing or two about teamwork, about stage fright, about project management. All these prove very precious skills for future leaders.
It could even well be that our organization may use the marketing talents at place that were demonstrated to organize the jazz concert or leverage on this opportunity to offer sponsorship and thus reach a new audience with interested prospects.
Get to know their hobbies
Who’s passionate about drawing? Who’s fascinated by golf?
How do you enjoy spending your leisure time?
Once we know, we can easily tap on this passion. Why easily? Because when people are truly interested in something, they invest a lot of efforts in researching towards excelling. And this research can save us tremendous time if they are willing to share with our organization.
Someone passionate about drawing could drastically enrich the marketing team, help featuring a unique brand for our website, give an exceptional touch to our brochures and banners, design stunning presentation backgrounds that could benefit all in the organization, etc.
A team member fascinated by golf is such a blessing if we need to connect with influential decision makers also enjoying golf. He would know all dates of all events around where we need to be present. He would easily select the places where we can meet with the right crowd out of the ones where we would just lose our time. And growing his relational skills, partnering him with sales team can easily boost the sales in a very smooth way at a fraction of a cost.
Get to know their faith
While in individualistic cultures, religion would have very limited space if any at work, in tribe cultures, religions frequently shape communities. Knowing people’s faith and sharing ours make us immediately belonging to a specific tribe (and sometimes excluded from others too).
Every tribe has influencers, who are talented enough to set trends.
Get to know others’ faith and enquire about who are the thought leaders. Surprise may happen.
Provide opportunities and exposures
A lady running a marathon demonstrates determination, planning, perseverance and can be truly inspirational for other team members, if only she is invited to share in a structured way.
People speaking languages we rarely use at work could be precious negotiators at a later stage of growth, if only they are invited to use their skills and nurture them.
Inviting marathon runners to speak about their experience at a townhall session or an internal webinar provides an opportunity to recognize someone, to inspire others and to offer a platform for more talents to grow.
Promoting a cultural day or language exchange buddies across our organization helps to nurture language abilities, to identify people able to fluently deliver in several languages and to value extra-effort and commitment, as well as creating bonds across teams and cultures.
Make it safe to dare
It takes courage to raise out of the crowd and to dare. It can be way much easier to avoid taking initiative and go with the flow. Yet, the latter does not allow talents to bloom nor a team to evolve and sustain performance.
Hence we need to create a culture where people can test and experience, where failure is part of the process and where it is safe to dare. It can be a special culture, limited in time and place to ensure the consequences of failure will remain manageable, as some organizations do by allowing employees to spend a couple of working hours on a personal project that later one could turn into a business expansion for the organization.
Talents like efforts need encouragement to grow. Once spotted, we need to praise progress and reward courage, value change initiatives and innovation.
Spotting talents and exposing them creates both opportunities to grow and expectations.
If expectations are far from being met, everyone starts to challenge leaders’ authenticity and lose trust in them.
We need to plan rewards ahead and duly execute the plan with consistence if we want to pick the low-hanging fruits of talents farming.
Give it a try & share with your coach!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Marianne Dupuis, executive & leadership coach is an international success catalyst. She has guided more than 600 people towards lasting success in leading across cultures. This success comes from her ability to connect with leaders all over the world, to joyfully embrace cultural diversity and systematically leverage on human potential. Pragmatic and direct, simple and flexible, committed and caring are all ways people describe her. Yet, do not only trust them, just meet Marianne and test how her programs make a lasting difference for you too. Your 1st step: Get her FREE Guide to master ‘Giving Effective Feedback across cultures’.