Tending to Top Talent

WorkMatters Tips
Issue #4 – September 26, 2006
Publisher: Gayle Lantz mailto:Gayle@GayleLantz.com

A quick tip to help leaders and executives who need to motivate their teams and themselves, and catapult their business.

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Tending to Top Talent

When is the last time you talked to your top performers about their goals? Not the obligatory performance review, just a casual conversation to make sure you really understand what they want.

If you’re like many people I work with, you’re bogged down in problems, focusing on people who need improvement. The idea of spending time with your star performers sounds good in theory, but you’ve got a few fires to put out before then.

Besides, your top performers have proven their capability. You trust them to continue doing their good work. You think they can operate just fine without your involvement. They probably can. But they need your attention in a different way.

Strong performers may need less instruction, but they still need leadership. Top performers appreciate being challenged. They like a sounding board, someone who can help them achieve even higher levels of performance and satisfaction in their work. Your leadership role for these outstanding performers can be that of coach or advocate.

Not sure where to start? Begin by simply showing your interest in the person. Invite conversation. Say something like: "I’d like to get together to see what I can do to be of more help to you."

When you meet, here are some areas you might want to cover. Use your own words of course. You’ll get the idea.

    1. Ask about the past.
Ask a top performer to tell you about a memorable time, when he really enjoyed the work he was doing, or perhaps when he felt the greatest sense of accomplishment. There may be many examples to choose from. Ask for the one that made the strongest impact.

    2. Dig deeper.
Say,"Tell me more about that. What made that time so enjoyable or memorable? What was your role? Why does that experience stand out?" This helps you understand what’s most important to him. And, it reveals clues about what that person might consider doing in the future.

    3. Focus on the future.
Ask,"What do you see yourself doing over the next few years? What’s a step you can take today to help you move in that direction, and what can I do to help you?"

This is a simple and logical process, yet one that many leaders don’t pursue. People appreciate the opportunity to talk about their goals with someone they believe has an interest in helping them achieve them.

Invest in your best with your own time. They’re waiting to hear from you. But they may not wait too long.

If you have questions or topics you’d like to see addressed in future issues,

P.S. Want to work on your own coaching or mentoring skills to help people on your team achieve their goals? One of the best ways is to work with a coach or mentor yourself.

The new employee stood before the paper shredder looking
"Need some help?" an assistant asked.
"Yes," he replied. "How does this thing work?"
"Simple," she said, taking the fat report from his hand and
feeding it into the shredder.
"Thanks, but where do the copies come out?"
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Reprinted from "WorkMatters Tips," a free ezine produced by Gayle Lantz featuring tips for leaders and executives who want to motivate their teams and themselves, and catapult their business.
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