I was intrigued by an article I read this week on 5 Reasons Your Top Employee Isn’t Happy. It got me thinking about how we manage talent. And maybe there lies the problem – in that very word ‘manage’. Talent is a precious thing, but should it be given ‘maverick status’ or does it need to be controlled? Well, I guess the answer might well vary depending on the culture of the company, what period in the company’s development you are at, or what sort of leader you are?
I immediately thought about the football team analogy. I have played and watched football over more years than I care to remember, and the recurring debate about how teams should accommodate rare talent just never goes away. What I have seen, is that teams who are riding on the crest of a wave, winning everything in sight, and blowing the opposition away, can often afford the ‘luxury’ of the occasional ‘maverick’ or ‘outlier’. Often described as a genius, these players entertain the crowds and keep the sports (and sometimes front-page) writers happy.
But, when the going gets tough, everyone is expected to put in a shift. Sulking on the wings with your hands on hips, complaining about not getting good service, doesn’t go down well – not with the crowd (or shareholders), team mates (or work colleagues) or coach (boss).
It’s a big issue for companies too. When someone is bestowed the title talent (or genius) – what is expected of them and of others? Continue reading