RSS Importance of Engaging Talent Is Not a Myth

Recently, a colleague shared with me a graphic depiction of six myths often used by leaders to engage talent. I think the topic is worthy of discussion and the graph is attached for your review.
Engaging Talent

The six myths are as follows:
1. Compensation is the key driver of employee engagement
2. Most high performers are high-potential employees
3. The performance review is the most important part of the review process
4. The best business leaders are great at inspiring their employees
5. “Sales” oriented employees want a different employee value proposition than “technically” oriented employees
6. Organizations need to “buy or build” business leaders in order to improve leadership performance

Of these six myths, three of them – the even-numbered ones: 2, 4 and 6 – stand out to me as the most interesting to expound upon.

Let’s take #2 for example, the myth that most high-performing employees are also high-potential employees. The author of this chart rightfully suggests that the reverse is true, but shares as fact that only 29% of high-performers are also considered high potential. High performers can all be defined as demonstrating strong ability, but only those employees who also possess the aspiration and engagement to achieve are truly high-potential. Often times high-performing employees don’t wish to make the trade-offs necessary to aspire and engage in activities that allow them to achieve greater levels of leadership. The aptitude of an individual employee to make such sacrifices is an important assessment every leader should make in order to understand the long-term potential of your organization.

Myth #4 suggests that the best business leaders are not those that are great at inspiring their employees, but instead are those who make sure the right employees have access to the right resources to get the job done. According to the chart, accurate and timely resource allocation is a much more important leadership characteristic than the ability to inspire. While I tend to agree with the statistics provided, I would go further by defining “resource allocation” as getting every employee to do work that they are uniquely qualified to do. I am amazed at times when, at the end of a long day, and employee gets ready to leave and says, “Where did the day go?” To me, that is a sign that an employee is working at their highest and best use, and doing something that they feel best qualified to do. When time drags on for an employee, it can be a sign that an employee is working below their capabilities or worse yet, in a position they are not well qualified to conduct.

Lastly, myth #6 addresses the paradox of whether or not to hire/build your leadership team to deal with evolving issues or activate their existing capabilities. If the statistics provided are true, that 75% of business leaders are already effective at the most important competencies, then it only makes sense to find ways to leverage those same competencies as the organization grows. Just as employees have various skills and strengths to achieve specific outcomes, so too do leaders. So remember how important it is that you assign the right leader to a particular issue so that you can minimize your headaches and maximize your results.

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Home About Archive Mitch HagstromMitch Hagstrom
Executive Vice President
Chief Banking Officer
Pacific Continental Bank

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