We often complain of overwork and lament lack of adequate support from within our department. Non-availability of the right people is the usual refrain and we wish we could get good people who would start delivering from day one. Day dreaming, isn’t it? But how often do we look around, spot good people, develop them and encourage them to get better? Perhaps, we are so lost in ourselves that we forget to notice talent around us.
It is therefore prudent to make use of the talent already available with us before looking outside for a Spiderman or Superman to come and save us. Let us look at ways to give shape to this thought.
We often have very capable people in our department but we fail to notice them. It is therefore important to review each one’s performance and identify those who are good but dissatisfied with their roles. If we find someone performing below his potential, it is important to find ways to tap his talent.
Putting them in the right slot
Once identified, these talented people should be assigned proper roles and not let them to languish. I have often seen brilliant staff weighed down by the tyranny of incompetent managers and supervisors. They have to be freed from such situations and positioned in such a way that their strengths are utilized. Putting round pegs in square holes is an old adage but true situations when you find people in wrong roles. For example when I transferred a poor performing software developer to a system administration role, I did so sensing his temperament – he was an action oriented person who was adept in quick analysis and resolving issues. He blossomed in this new role and rose to the position of senior manager in a few years.
Acknowledging / rewarding
We have to watch ourselves and examine if we are miserly in acknowledging people who do good work. A simple pat on the back or a word of praise goes a long way in exhorting people to do better, for otherwise work for them is drab and monotonous. Rewarding select people for good work is a good practice and it not only encourages people to do better it also goes as a message to non-performers to rise up and get better. In two of the companies that I worked for, they had a practice of giving a cash award to outstanding performers based on the recommendation of the functional head or a spot reward for someone who saved a difficult situation.
Good people are often laid to waste if not developed properly. So it is important to identify the staff development needs and sent them on training and development as per their needs. The training should be targeted; meant to address their specific technical or behavioral needs so that they get back and perform better in their respective areas.
Delegation & empowerment
Even if talented individuals have been given the right roles and have been developed, they still may not perform to their true potential. To develop them further it is important to test them with higher responsibilities from time to time. Delegating tasks so that he assumes total responsibility for a certain area or a project would test his abilities, and if successful he/she will rise in his own esteem. Empowering them so that they take their own decisions without referring to us (though with our supervision) will give them more opportunities to build on their talents to rise higher in the organization.
Fast track for high performers
Some companies do have the policy of providing an accelerated path for outstanding performers and those with high potential. Many known personalities in the industrial world are living examples.
If chosen staff in our department start taking up responsibilities and free us from daily hassles, wont we have time to apply ourselves to meeting the organization goals and to play a proactive role our companies. We can then relax a little and free our mind from needless complaining.