Nurturing, Enabling, and Empowering Talent at the Workplace

Different Aspects of Talent Management

Not all of us are born geniuses or are child prodigies. Just as not all sportspersons are not Michael Schumacher or all entrepreneurs are Bill Gates or the Late Steve Jobs, many of us have some innate talents that need to be catalyzed by nurturing, enabling, and empowering thereby making us flourish and prosper in our careers and personal lives. When talking about talent management at the workplace, it is indeed important that organizations ought to ensure that they identify the high potentials and the rare breed of prodigies, and then mark out those who are steady but gifted who with a little coaching and mentoring can flourish, and then identify those who are followers meaning that they are better off taking orders from others rather than giving them, and finally, those who perform some skills in an outstanding manner but are poor in interpersonal communications and relationships so that they can be placed into roles where technical brilliance is needed.

The Role of the HR Manager

To do all the things mentioned above, an experienced and astute HR (Human Resources) manager is needed in partnership with the line managers and top management so that organizations make best use of their employees. Indeed, in addition to these requirements, identifying the different categories of performers needs the HR manager as well as the line manager to be insightful about human nature through which they can spot the difference between a born leader, a made leader, and a follower who can turn into a leader based on the circumstances. This is the reason why many organizations have something called a list of employees identified accordingly and marked as high potentials, steady performers, technically brilliant employees, and followers who take time and patience to flourish.

Identifying Leaders

Some organizations keep this list confidential with only the HR department and the middle and senior management being able to access this whereas other organizations inform the respective employees in an indirect manner that the organization values them and hence, would seek their response on what is needed from the organizations’ side to enable them to make the transition to middle and senior management. Of course, not many organizations reveal these details unless the employees enter middle management since it can lead to both overconfidence on the part of the high potentials as well as resentment among those who have not been categorized as such. However, it is indeed the case that such lists exist in each organization irrespective of the sector or the niche it operates since the new economy or the emerging economy places a premium on talent and hence, it is in the interests of the organization to retain the top performers and on the other hand, intimate the poor performers from time to time that they cannot have a free ride and that the organization is not a charity show.

Emotional Intelligence as an Indicator of Leadership Potential

Having said that, it must also be noted that current research in individual and organizational behavior seems to indicate that a better measure of the employees’ worth to the organization is the EQ or the Emotional Intelligence Quotient rather than the other attributes such as IQ (Intelligence Quotient) or flashes of brilliance that most employees exhibit at one time or the other. This is the reason why many contemporary organizations send their employees to leadership training programs where their ability as a leader of people rather than a follower can be gauged so that the organization knows whom to promote and whom to discard in the competitive climb of the corporate ladder. Moreover, given the fact that the Pyramidal nature of organizational hierarchies means that only a few can reach each higher level and only one can be the CEO (Chief Executive Officer) means that such identification of talent is crucial as well as critical to the success of the organization.

Perils of Promoting Lousy Managers

Further, it is the fact that many employees leave their managers rather than due to the wider organizational ecosystem which means that it is important to have managers who are high on EQ rather than managers who are good only at the technical aspects of the job. In addition, having lousy managers is a double whammy blow to the organization as it has not only ensured that the employees who are otherwise gifted get wasted and demoralized but also the manager is a liability to the organization since he or she is not an enabler of people or can empower and nurture talent. This is the reason why many organizations in recent years have started to invest time and resources on promoting the employees who are fit for managerial and leadership roles rather than be influenced by experience or technical brilliance.

Talent Management is an Art and a Science

Finally, talent management is also fraught with danger if the exercise to identify and nurture talent leads to some employees feeling neglected and thereby developing resentment. As research shows, whenever organizations promote a certain employee or a group of employees, it invariably leads to those who have been left out protesting against the same thereby leading to attrition as well as demoralization. As mentioned earlier, given the Pyramidal nature of the corporate hierarchy, organizations have to be very careful when undertaking these aspects of talent management and hence, a nuanced, subtle, and understated approach is needed when promoting some employees over others. In conclusion, talent management is both an art and a science and the specific aspect of identifying leaders and potential leaders as well as marking others as followers is a task that is fraught with risk and at the same time, yields rewards to the organization if done skillfully.


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