Talent Management

by Rachel Brushfield

What talent wants and needs from you

One of your primary responsibilities as a line manager is to release the potential of your team, for the benefit of the company. Talent are key to the current and future success of the company, so it’s essential to give a high priority to their needs:

  • Make time for them every week – plan 1-2-1s with them regularly and support their fast growth
  • Mentor and coach them yourself and consider getting them an executive coach and/or internal or external mentor to fast-track their performance and development
  • Give them new challenges and responsibilities to stretch them; define clear SMART goals and allow them to approach the challenge in their own unique way, providing guidance as appropriate
  • Share your experiences of the company, key stakeholders, any politics that they need to be aware of and your knowledge of the industry
  • Allow them to make mistakes and help them to learn quickly so they don’t repeat these
  • Give them constructive feedback about what they are doing well and which areas need work; outline clear required changes in behaviour and approach and arrange a follow-up meeting to review progress
  • Champion and support them to raise their profile in the business and yours
  • Release them willingly for talent development programmes and make time to hear what they learnt
  • Create time for career development conversations and be realistic, accepting that they won’t be with you forever
  • Don’t be afraid to give them feedback about any poor performance and behaviour. Research shows that line managers often avoid this, out of fear. However, these conversations can make a real difference in their awareness and performance, for the benefit of them, you and the company; so if a conversation is needed, don’t put it off
  • Be ego-free, firm yet fair and democratic with them, and maintain clear boundaries that are appropriate to your relationship with them as their line manager
  • Don’t withhold information unnecessarily or ‘pull rank’ to maintain your power or superiority; cultivate an open and supportive team culture of trust
  • Be flexible and open minded – don’t be too fixed in your opinions, but be willing to listen to them and have your opinions challenged about how things should be done, including flexible working policies
  • Help them build their network, both internally and externally.