We’ve all come across this type of person in our careers: the guy who is miserable to work with but who’s also “the top salesman we have.” Or how about “the smartest guy in the room,” who’s also the most unapproachable person you’ve ever met? The talent may well be there but, in today’s increasingly networked workplace, it isn’t a guarantee of success.
Sometimes, very talented people just aren’t a good fit for your organization, but more often, the problem lies in a leaders’ inability to harness or align their employees’ talent to the mission. Either of these situations can cause employees’ talent to atrophy — or, worse, give them a reason to move on to a more engaging position at another company. Your job, as a leader, is to recognize when talent isn’t being used to its fullest potential and correct the situation.
When Talent on Its Own Isn’t Enough
As a leader, you may be tempted to hire an individual, or keep him in your organization, based on talent alone. Unfortunately, this might be a recipe for disaster. To make a difference, talented people need to be given the right roles and responsibilities, proper direction, and a sense of urgency. Most of all, they need to be properly aligned to advance an organization’s long-term goals.
Here are some common talent issues leaders face that could hinder your business’s success in building high performance teams:
How to Align a Team’s Talents
Business moves fast. Often, business leaders get caught up with other priorities and let the performance and direction of their teams fall by the wayside. Here are three simple remedies to get talent back on track:
1. Communicate: The most effective way to align a team’s talents is through honest dialogue. Take the time to evaluate internal processes and dynamics. Hearing from your team about what is — and isn’t — working will help create alignment and do more for your team’s big picture than any task management system or monetary bonus ever could.
2. Look at your business objectives: When you put talent in the context of business strategy, talent will start to naturally align itself. Leveraging the strengths and preferences of employees according to where they fit within your long-term business objectives will naturally bring out the best in your people and organization as a whole. Make sure all employees know their roles and how their actions contribute to the bigger picture.
3. Put the right people in the right seats: Jim Collins said it best when he advised that people need to be put in the right seat on the bus to drive performance. If your goal is building a high performance team, find the right roles and responsibilities for the right employees. Find out what your employees enjoy doing and what motivates them to determine where they are best suited.
All leaders want the most talented people working for them, but talent alone can’t carry an organization. Leaders must provide oversight and direction to ensure employees are engaged, motivated, and challenged on a daily basis. Most of all, they must harness talent effectively by putting people in roles that align them — and the organization — for long-term success.
By Chris Cancialosi
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