Talent Management

by Rachel Brushfield

The ups and downs of managing talent

Successfully managing talent is increasingly becoming an important ability within the line manager’s skill set. To do it well, you need to be aware of both the possible downsides and the upsides of having talent within your team.


For a line manager, the downsides of managing talent are

  • Lack of time – managing talent is another priority when you have many responsibilities already and more direct reports than in the past
  • Resentment – you may feel resentful knowing that they will progress faster than you did and get so much attention
  • Insecurity – you may feel insecure about their influence and the possibility of them taking your job
  • Demotivation – you may feel demotivated by their success as they achieve fast promotions, large bonuses and pay rises that you could do with
  • Frustration – you may feel frustrated when they get moved on after you have invested a lot of time and energy in them, leaving you with a hole in your team and a recruitment need
  • Challenge – they may give you headaches by challenging your authority and at the same time making it harder to keep the rest of your team happy
  • Being selfless – you may have to be selfless and resist keeping them where they benefit you and your department.

People join companies and leave managers.


Talent who are from Generation Y (born 1980 – 2000) can be doubly tricky to manage. They expect to be consulted about decisions, for their company and boss to have demonstrable values and for their employer to be environmentally aware and ethical. They also expect to be given learning and development and promoted fast. They expect loyalty from the organisation but don’t give loyalty back in the long term, as they embrace change and flexibility in their careers

The upsides of managing talent

Talent are important to the business and therefore you can also gain from the company’s investment in them and the attention devoted to them.

Upsides include

  • The rest of your team can learn from their talent strengths, so analyse their competencies and discover what makes them good
  • Raised profile for you within the business – because they are high profile people, they can promote your abilities as a line manager and raise the profile of your team or department
  • New learning – get them to share the insights and tools from any talent management programmes they attend to embed their learning and benefit your team
  • They will stretch your managerial skills as a manager and push out your comfort zone, so you grow as a manager
  • Influencing your career in future – they could be a key decision maker or influencer, positively influencing your career progression, both in your company and in your profession or industry
  • Mentoring – they can mentor your employees to develop your team, freeing you up for other tasks
  • Fresh thinking – they are bright and creative, so may present new solutions to old problems, for everyone’s benefit.