An Eye for Talent

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A key leadership competency is to BE “talent.” Even more important, though, is a leader’s ability to IDENTIFY (and leverage) the talent of others.

What Talent Looks Like

The three elements of Executive Intelligence* provides a good framework for identifying the talent of others (and your own):

  1. The Ability to Complete Tasks
  2. The Ability to Work With and Through Other People
  3. The Ability to Accurately Judge Oneself and Adapt One’s Behaviors Accordingly

Let’s “look” a little closer.

Executive Intelligence Element #1: The Ability to Complete Tasks

Some important, and often overlooked,  indicators of talent in this category include:

  • Respect for deadlines and due dates, and the reliability of the commitments made
  • Asking properly probing questions to understand the needs of the primary audience (those for whom the work is intended) and delivering accordingly
  • Understanding the needs of the secondary and tertiary audience (those for whom the work is sent to, or shared with, by the primary audience) and delivering accordingly, whether those secondary and tertiary audience members are initially identified
  • Solving problems in ways that minimize the number of new problems arising as a result

Executive Intelligence Element #2: The Ability to Work With and Through Other People

Some important, and often overlooked,  indicators of talent in this category include:

  • Collaborating as effectively with those they (you) DON’T like – or don’t get along with – as with those they (you) DO
  • Sharing the limelight with those typically overlooked or behind-the-scenes
  • How they (you) handle deserving/undeserving blame from others
  • Who volunteers to work with them (you) on difficult assignments; who stands up for them (you) when things go wrong

Executive Intelligence Element #3: The Ability to Accurately Judge Oneself and Adapt One’s Behaviors Accordingly

Some important, and often overlooked,  indicators of talent in this category include:

  • Fearlessness – or extreme courageousness – in times of crises, both big and small
  • Willingness to accept responsibility – and accountability – for the substandard work of their (your) direct reports
  • The extent to which they (you) do/do not embrace unrequested feedback, constructive or otherwise
  • How they (you) behave when no one is (or seems to be) noticing
  • What they (you) are learning to make them (you) a better leader … and person

Highlights and Lowlights

Oscar Wilde said, “No object is so beautiful that, under certain conditions, it will not look ugly.” So, too, with talent.

Indeed, few, if any, excel in everything they do or try – unless, of course, they do or try so little that their impact and influence is virtually non-existent.

So the goal to spotting talent in others (and yourself) is not the simply be dazzled (or disappointed) by how wonderful (incapable) people are, but to understand the LIMITS of their (your) talents.

Because knowing the LIMITS of their (your) talents affords you TREMENDOUS INSIGHT into how best to leverage those talents, when they’re needed most.  

And that makes you one very talented leader!

—–
* from Executive Intelligence, Justin Menkes

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