Failures of Leadership in Managing Talent


Talent Management Isn’t About Systems and Processes

Its Just so true that Companies have a talent pool but they always ONE short, At time of need Executive exclaim "If we had one more we would have done it".  It’s a good question. The science of talent management has been around in many forms since David Watkins coined the term in 1998. It simply means to attract and retain the best people. Talent Management in a nutshell is nothing but high-performing businesses being self-sufficient in hiring the best people, developing them and rewarding them in a supportive corporate culture.

The frustration of being someone short is not limited to the biggest and best. Executives in organizations large and small express similar sentiments: Why are we always having to hire people? We shouldn’t have to go to the market we have great HR systems. This latter statement betrays the kernel (root) of the problem. Great talent management is not about systems and processes. Systems and Processes have their advantages but they do have drawbacks, one is that they make life monotonous, resulting is failture of growth and development which is the essence of talent management. Great talent management isn’t about complex compliance it is about doing a few things really well. Leaders responsible for talent need to change their way of being and thinking. They don’t need another process. It’s all about the lens you use to look at what is happening in your organization. its aout realising who is doing what, and how well he is doing it, its about trusting the abilities, knowing the motivation and commitment, its about understanding the zeal and spirit for work one has in the organisation. Here are the biggest failure and how to correct them:

1. Dumping versus delegating

Carrying out an in-depth assessment of high-potential executives, staff is typically asked to describe their ideal boss. The standard response is, Someone who sets me free and gives me a lot of rope. But when asked about the boss from whom they learned the most, it is not the person listed above. It is, Someone who drove me hard, made me perform at my best and who inspected what they expected" in other words, closely monitored the performance and was relentless.

Delegation turns into dumping when busyness’ dominates an executive’s day and he or she calls on someone who has previously delivered against the clock for them in the past. There are four simple pillars to delegating properly:

1. Assign the work;
2. Check for understanding, verbally or by email;
3. Establish metrics or measurements;
4. Check in regularly to ensure things are on track.

Dumping the work on someone rather than delegating fails to give them the opportunity to learn and grow from experience. It’s not hard to teach leaders how to take the few extra minutes to delegate and pass on their own learnings while also increasing the productivity of their teams. It will lead to a feeling of empowerment, and accelerated learning for all concerned.

Talent Management Should Be A Compliance-Free Zone

Leaders responsible for talent need to change their way of being and thinking. They don’t need another process. It’s all about the lens to look at what is happening in the organization.

2. Feedback done badly

Proper feedback hold the key to effective talent management, its a reflective practice that enhances learning. The most sophisticated talent management systems in the world are not going to deliver anything if those in the system and pipeline have no idea how to give and receive feedback. Anyone can make someone cry or tell them the lies they want to hear. The objective of the feedback is that the person who receives it wants to do something different or try something new. To give constructive feedback you need to invest in deepening your knowledge of the person concerned. Most people need a careful mixture of carrot and stick. In order to make the feedback process fruitful, its has to be a continous process, designated time for feedback may not help in changing behaviour or performance, but this could be acheived through continous feedback on performance, but not so continous that the employees feel it painful and a hindrance to work.

Managers need to give feedback in real time, capturing opportunities as they arise to point out where performance can be enhanced. This builds trust and higher performance the individual knows that their performance is being continually and closely evaluated. Most of us don’t like critical feedback. But if we want to learn, it is up to us to create a safe environment for feedback or feed-forward’ to occur.

Feedback is always a combination of things you need to work on and don’t have mastery over, and people’s perceptions of you, sometimes correct and sometimes not. You should ask clarifying questions and then be reflective about what you hear. Even if the feedback is not correct, you need to realise that it is someone’s reality, and therefore it’s critical you understand it and address it in a meaningful way. If managers don’t bother to give feedback which will accelerate the development of their high performers, the danger is they will leave the company. You will then once again be one short’.

3. The not ready yet’ syndrome

One of the biggest flaws in talent management is the mindset that to fulfill the needs of a position, an executive has to be ready now. But in any form of selection and succession, no one is going to be ready now, and evaluating through this lens will always leave you one short. We believe the best way to overcome this thinking is to look on selection and succession as a multi-person rather than a single-person event. For example, you should consider the strength of the team into which you are inserting a leader. If it’s a world-class team with a lot of experienced executives you can take more risk on the leader, compared with a team in turmoil’ situation where you may need to over-hire’ for the position.

What success looks like

Top people at the top of an organisation need to be developed properly not through a stagnant, process-driven performance management system, but through a changed mindset which takes into account the broader context. Change will take place one person at a time. It will take place as you define an open position and are then willing to embrace the risks of internal candidates and their readiness. While an external leader might be necessary for crisis or startup situations, very rarely is effective change brought about by a big bang’ through one person. It is always a team and the way leaders are transitioned into their teams. It’s only when you can get past the idea of being one short’ and move to always being just right’ that you will have changed your mind, and kept the change.