JUST recently at a function I was chairing at a local hotel, a young man from one of the participating organisations, approached me at tea break and asked, “Mkoma (brother), our directors have asked us to come up with some ideas that would promote workplace interactivity and creative thinking.”
Robert Mandeya:People management issueS
The young man asked if I could come up with a proposal for that programme, which can be initiated at their organisation. It got me thinking that the directors at this company wanted a programme that would help them identify and nurture talent amongst some of their young workforce — what a brilliant idea!
Many a time the top echelon leadership of a company usually does not have time for much else other than the bigger picture and the bottom lines. Numbers and figures conversions, revenues, turnovers, profits, etc are of paramount importance to every business organisation; indeed, the very reason for its existence. Indeed no business entity can survive if the required numbers, especially profits and revenue, are not up to the mark.
Thus, in this maze of business demands, leaders often lose sight of the bigger picture and miss out on some important intervention strategies that would help them grow their business and even double their profits.
Leadership in identifying talent
It is no secret it is the human element of the organisation which delivers the numbers. If you have the right set of people, adequately motivated and under a manager whose leadership skills can effectively channel the collective energies of the group, the numbers will happen. Which brings me to the operative phrase in this scenario: “the right set of people.”
Even exceptional leadership qualities would go down the drain without a team with specific talents that complement each other. That does not mean that leadership and the talent being managed are independent of each other or that any leader has to make do with the talent he sees in a given team. To the contrary, spotting and managing talent effectively are two abilities that a good leader must have in his skill-set.
As your role in a given organisation grows to a point where you lead a team, there is a certain shift in focus. When we talk of being in charge of a group, we have already established that they have a common objective that somehow is a vital part of the larger picture of what the organisation does. Your team has a collective target to meet, which means that all individuals must do their bit, while you ensure that everything flows smoothly.
Human side to business leadership
Effectively, your target is to ensure that the right persons get assigned to the right tasks such that the needful is done most effectively in the least possible time. Getting the right talent is only half the job: people are not equipment. They must be nurtured and groomed to perform and grow in their roles for the organisation so they may perform to the fullest potential of their talents. You, the leader, must get to know every team member as far as possible and try to gauge what makes each one tick.
You do not want your best team members coming down with a bad case of workplace blues just due to lack of motivation. Good leaders are also a great talent master because they can determine a person’s abilities more precisely simply because they are great at observing and listening. Once they institutionalise these skills, they help shape an organisational doctrine that translates into good employee practices, enriching the company culture.
Going further up, developing talent is a continuous process for the organisation at large, and this process must be a part of the organisational culture; this has to be believed and made a priority from top down, starting right from the CEO.
It is not just about short-term goals. Any business organisation that is looking at the future must also plan to get the people with the talent to get it there. Talent masters spend at least a quarter of their time spotting and grooming leadership potential in others; it is closer to 40% in fortune 500 companies.
There are some guiding principles that leadership can follow in order to effectively and successfully implement a talent identification and management programme in their organisations.
We are in difficult times right now, but teams that possess that magical something will survive the trial. They will emerge stronger than they were before.
What will your team do in this economy? Will you play not to lose? Will you let events dictate what happens to you? Will you sit back? Will panic set in? Or will you look each other confidently in the eye, take control, count on your leaders, work hard together, trust each other, and snatch victory from the jaws of defeat? This decision cannot be postponed.
Mandeya is a certified executive leadership coach, corporate education trainer and management consultant and founder of Leadership Institute of Research and Development (LiRD). — firstname.lastname@example.org/ or email@example.com, Facebook: @lirdzim and Mobile/WhatsApp: +263 719 466 925..