12 Ideas for Developing Talent

As a current leader in a company today, you know how hard it is to find talent who can grow into bigger roles, or take on more responsibility. You may have talent who needs to step up and help lead a new change in direction. It sounds simple, ask the talent you have to find a way to do more or to stretch and grow. Yet, the single biggest problem we get asked to help solve today? Help organizations develop leaders who believe in developing others. 

This article was originally authored by Becky Dannenfelser. 

I previously wrote a blog about the best boss I ever had, Allan Zwerner. Allan was an amazing leader who actually believed in the potential talent of everyone on his teams. So what do leaders like Allan do differently to develop talent in an organization?

It starts with the leader

  1. Believe in your people: Show you believe in them by taking time to talk about their potential, their dreams and how to help them start to live them.
  2. Give out some responsibility: Delegate something to someone on your team who can do it better than you. 
  3. Establish a new task force:  Put someone new in charge for a new key initiative.
  4. Describe a new key stretch assignment: Ask your team members for volunteers to fill the role.
  5. Become someone’s sponsor: Make it your responsibility to get that person promoted this year.
  6. Role model the gift of receiving feedback: Ask for feedback from each of your direct reports. Just listen to what they say, do not rebut any of their feedback and then thank them for their time and comments.
  7. Let your people write their own reviews: You might be surprised to learn what they have to say about their own strengths, weaknesses, development potential and goals.
  8. Ask your yourself what you have done this week to encourage someone else: Once a week, dedicate yourself to accomplishing one encouraging act for each one of your team members.
  9. Sign up your talent for a leadership training course: Look for a class at a local college or a training session within your organization. Lobby hard to get the needed training your talent needs to step up and do more.
  10. Ask a team member to teach: Have them teach something they are good at to their peers such as speaking, planning or organizational skills. 
  11. Ask questions of your talent and truly listen to the answers: Let them help solve your organizations biggest problems.  
  12. Understand the obstacles your talent face: Take time to learn what barriers get in the way of your people growing to their full potential. Then, go out of your way to remove the impediments.

It has a lasting effect

While Allan hasn’t been my boss for several years, his leadership legacy lives on for those in whom he believed. His confidence in me fostered my belief in countless other people who have crossed my path. It also fueled my desire of pursuing my passion to work with companies to help them develop their talent. 

Allan passed away last October after living a legandary life filled with people he believed in. He is still greatly missed but the leadership lessons he passed on can still help leaders today develop their talent to their full potential!