Managing Talent

Managing Talent

By the end of this lesson, you are expected to discover some principles which will help you manage talent in your organisation.


When you are at the early stages of your career, you are understandably focused upon developing to the full your own potential as a leader.

Once you are in a leadership role at the team level, you have a responsibility for developing the individuals in your team, and that includes their abilities as leaders.

At the strategic level, fostering talent becomes even more important for today’s performance and tomorrow’s growth.

Find Greatness in People (1/2)

The tasks that organisations face are ever more challenging. As a Leader in an organisation, one key role to play is to be an enabler.

The task of leadership is not to put greatness into people but to elicit it, for the greatness is there already” – John Buchan

All great achievers throughout time have a common denominator: success comes from the inside out. Anyone can be great!

The challenge is to detect and bring out the potential for greatness which resides in your colleagues and teammates.

Find Greatness in People (2/2)

“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.”

“We are all meant to shine, as children do.”

“It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.”

“As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”

Our Deepest Fear by Marianne Williamson
from ‘A Return To Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles’Original quote:
Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.

Our Deepest Fear (2-min long video):

If you’d like to refer to this later, you can find the link in the Additional Material section of this lesson.

Principle I: Set up a Strategy for Talent Development (1/2)

The most common and most expensive error that organisations are committing at present is to focus talent development on their more senior managers, so that becomes their entire ‘strategy’. In so doing, they completely ignore most collaborators. Yet it is them who are the ones closest to the customer.

The key to achieving sustainable business success is to have excellence in talent at all three levels: strategic, operational and team. All these levels need to work harmoniously together as the organisation’s team.

Principle I: Set up a Strategy for Talent Development (2/2)

Talent development strategy should evolve and be guided by a small steering group as part of the overall business strategy.

Such strategy should be:
important – it has to be key for organisational development;
longer-term – growth takes focus and resources, among which time;
multi-factored – it takes more than one approach to ensure success.

The remaining principles will give you an idea of what those various elements could be. It is when there is synergy that an organisation will begin to grow leaders.

Principle II: Selection

Teams and a successful organisation are about synergy. Leadership within a unit will shift according to the plan’s development, constraints, strategic choices, and/or competency levels.

Selecting a person for a role or a position cannot just be about what the person did or is capable of doing in short to midterm. Personal growth could also be taken into account to widen the pool of talented, skilled and competent colleagues in the long run, which might strengthen loyalty and increase engagement.

Principle III: Training for Leadership (1/2)

To train implies instruction with specific goal(s) in mind; educateimplies attempting to bring out latent capabilities.

As part of your strategic thinking, you should identify your
business training needs in the leadership context and assign
them priorities. Bear in mind always that training of any kind is going to cost your organisation time and money.

Principle III: Training for Leadership (2/2)

The first level to look at is your team leaders, alias first-line managers. It is important for the organisational success, and their own, that newly appointed team leaders receive some training in leadership prior to or shortly after appointment.

If in-company leadership training is outsourced to external providers, make sure to retain some ‘ownership’ and control, so that the programmes fit in with the strategy and organisational ethos. Delegation never means abdication.

Principle IV: Career Development

People grow as professionals by the actual practice of their craft. There is no substitute for experience. What organisations almost uniquely can do is to give people opportunities to experiment and develop. The trick here is to give a person the right job at the right time. It should be the kind of mission that is realistic but challenging for the individual concerned. No stretch, no growth.

An organisation serious about applying this principle, will, for example, encourage regular conversations with each leader and employees in which it outlines what it has in mind for the individual concerned. Equally, such meetings will be an opportunity for the individual to be proactive and to say what he or she aspires to do for and within the organisation.

Fitting together this jigsaw of hopes and expectations is the name of the game, and it should be a win-win situation. A strategic leader in the making will need experience in more than one functional area of the business and, if the organisation is international, in more than one country.

Principle V: Managers as Leadership Developers

From team level and upward, all leaders are ‘leaders of leaders’ in an organisation.

A leader’s responsibility for individual needs includes developing the individual’s potential – both professional and technical and in the ‘human side of enterprise’. That entails one-to-one meetings at regular intervals to offer constructive feedback, as well as encouragement or support.

It is mutual trust or respect that makes us both eager to learn and ready to teach. An organisation needs a system of setting objectives and appraising performance designed as a channel for two-way learning.

Principle VI: Culture

I have learned that a cause must be organic; if it is to have an impact it must belong to those who join the movement and not those who lead it.” – Simon Sinek

Values are the stars your organisation steers by and together they define your distinctive ethos. Make sure the organisational culture comes to place a high value on ‘good leadership and leadership for good’. In the final analysis, it is culture that grows leaders, so it is vital to review it and make changes where necessary.

Though organisations only have 50% of the cards in their hands, when it’s about encouraging a climate of self-development in leadership, the other 50% is in the hands of the individuals. There may be no in-house leadership courses available, but one can still learn leadership. Books are the best method, together with reflection on one’s experience.

Principle VII: The Chief Executive

As a strategic leader, it is crystal clear that if you are in the role of chief executive, you own the problem of growing talents. Human resources or training specialists are there to advise and help. They can assist you to formulate and implement your strategy, but you are in the driving seat. If not, don’t expect any forward movement.

Apart from taking responsibility for the strategy, you should also be leading it from the front yourself. Be known to talk about talent development on occasion and always effectively. Visit any internal courses and show your support for them. If you care about talent development, so will the organisation.

Incidentally, it is also a chance to get your message across, as well as an opportunity to practise the skill of listening. Organisations today need listening leaders.

Here are 7 principles originating from John Adair and adapted to managing talent in an organisation:

I. Set up Strategy for Talent Development
II. Selection
III. Training for Leadership
IV. Career Development
V. Managers as Leadership Developers
VI. Culture
VII. The Chief Executive

A key point to remember about managing talent is that in all but the smallest organisations, the role is too big for one person to do it all. One will certainly need to build a strategic team to ensure readiness to successfully meet organisation’s challenges.

Jim Rohn Sứ mệnh khởi nghiệp