Talent Management

by Rachel Brushfield

Emotional intelligence required

When managing talent, it is vital that you possess good self-awareness, self confidence and Emotional Intelligence. Here are the key ways in which you can demonstrate these qualities with regard to talent within your team:

  • If a talent member of your team is given a mentor who is a peer of yours, see it as an opportunity rather than a threat – a way to free you up for other responsibilities
  • When talent moves out of your team, be positive about it and embrace the change that it will cause and fresh thinking that will ensue
  • Don’t be threatened by fast-track talent – see it as an opportunity to learn and grow through modelling them
  • Invest in your self-awareness and be comfortable and confident in your own abilities – be as ego-free as possible
  • Seek advice from Human Resources about how to handle any difficulties
  • Foster an open, honest and supportive culture, celebrating the strengths and contributions of all of your team
  • Don’t be afraid to benchmark yourself against the talent competencies and put a personal development plan in place to address any weaknesses.

In addition to the topic on Emotional Intelligence, you might also find it helpful to look at the topic on Political Intelligence and model yourself on the Wise Owl!

Emotional intelligence, engagement and social skills are key talent competencies – make sure that yours as a line manager are up to scratch and do training or coaching to polish them, if necessary.

Remember that people join companies and leave managers and, for most talent, their relationship with you is their main experience of the employer brand.

A really great talent finds its happiness in execution.

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Allocate time in which to review talent on a regular basis, as they will develop their capabilities or perceptions of their capabilities fast. As they grow, don’t keep the best projects for yourself, but remember that your role as a line manager is to bring out the best in others via coaching and mentoring. Also remember that one of the best ways for people to learn is to put them in a challenging situation that they have not experienced before, while giving appropriate support. Give talent responsibility to make decisions without constant approval.

Get comfortable with the soft, ‘feeling’, right-brain side of managing people and their emotions, as this is often the key to engaging people better. Manage and engage the whole person and remember that personal or financial problems and the stress that they cause may hinder performance. Being empathetic will build and strengthen the bonds you have with talent as well as your reputation as a good line manager.


When a talent leaves, commission an exit interview externally or by someone objective internally to elicit any learning that can inform future decision making or insights to improve your management style