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A Common Mistake in Managing

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

I have held management positions in both the private sector as well as the public sector. Although they both have very different environments and political atmospheres, they both have a common mistake, talent management.

Many managers in the working world often think that mere management is keeping the status quo, reaching organizational goals, or creating team environments. Don't get me wrong, those are all very important, but you cannot continually achieve them without understanding the talent that you are managing.

Susan M. Heathfield from defines Talent Management perfectly as, "... an organization's commitment to recruit, hire, retain, and develop the most talented and superior employees available in the job market. So, talent management is a useful term when it describes an organization's commitment to hire, manage, develop, and retain talented employees." (2019)

I saw many managers and supervisors, as well as myself, struggle with keeping employees motivated at times. But, once I learned more about each employee's talent, and passion, if I may dare say, I was able to tap into their highest level of motivation. Now, most organizations have employees that can fit into general categories of work ethic, such as the "all-stars" or the "75 percenters." I will address some of these categories in another blog post, but for now, let's focus on how to create more "all-stars."

A manager needs to spend time with their employees, but not just to manage and direct, but to listen. Investigate a little to see what they are passionate about. Maybe it is research, technology, training, and writing reports. It may surprise you what you find out. I had a Graduate Assistant while working at a University that was very personable. This young man was energetic and likable, so he was placed up front to talk with students, staff, and faculty. But, during one of my employee meetings with him, he mentioned that he enjoyed technology and that he wanted to learn as much as he could. I decided to send him to training, and he flourished! He was already a good employee, but after he was able to tap into an area he truly enjoyed, he took off! He did great! Faculty members and staff were requesting him for advice on a regular basis, and he was able to pursue a career in what he was passionate about.

Now, why is this important to the manager? I was able to see a good employee, a "75 percenter" (someone who always gives you 75%, never less, but never more), and create an "all-star." Once you are able to find an employee's passion and talent, you help build confidence in the employee and in the team. A confident team is an efficient team that will not just meet goals, but exceed them and make your department the "all-star" department that any organization will rely on.

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