Bill Conaty and Ram Charan, authors of The Talent Masters, say you should become obsessed with developing your talent. They recommend spending at least a quarter of your time trying to understand people’s talents and helping them grow. Try to improve your judgment about people. Look at the person from multiple perspectives and think about where they might really shine. Use only evidence and facts in order to filter out personal biases. When you spend time and energy to help leaders reach their potential, retention takes care of itself.
Give frequent and honest feedback. John Baldoni, author of Lead Your Boss: The Subtle Art of Managing Up says that leadership is all about perception. If leaders do not know how they are perceived, their performance will suffer. However, the higher up in an organization a leader sits, the harder it is for them to receive honest feedback. But trust doesn’t simply happen, which is why feedback-friendly cultures are very intentional about creating practices and methods that foster specific, candid, and robust comments about performance from everyone on the team—regardless of rank. Feedback about behavior—carefully noted, and delivered in an atmosphere of trust—is the engine that drives a culture of continuous learning and high performance.
Make talent development an explicit part of every leader’s job and hold them accountable for it. Leaders show the importance of developing other leaders largely by example. Every company struggles to grow talent so leaders, especially, need to know their own people and what makes them tick. They should be held responsible for their teams and the growth of even more future leaders. Some companies even tie compensation to a leader’s ability to grow other people.
Provide intellectual opportunities for additional growth. True leaders continuously work to build their skills and relationships, their personal traits and judgments. Experience is a great teacher but leaders need intellectual stimulation to really excel. The best leaders are those that are the most effective. Effectiveness is based on a number of things, and requires a diversified and varied skill set. Anyone who believes they do not need to learn any more can never be a true leader because true leaders understand that every organization needs to evolve for its time, and every leader must evolve his thinking to adapt to new things he might learn.
SOURCES: The Talent Masters, Lead Your Boss, Harvard Business Review