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Manage your most talented employees and they will manage the rest

Pragyan Acharya
Friday, December 3, 2010
Pragyan Acharya
What comes to your mind when you hear the term ‘Leader’? Probably, you would reply at the spur of the moment that, he or she is someone who can make people work and combine their efforts and talent to achieve certain goals of an organization. It might be the whole idea but that is certainly not everything to define a leader. Today, we live in a world where talent is everything to sustain an organization.
To manage every talent is a different task altogether. In such a case, the approach towards every talent is a challenge for every leader and managing the most talented is the biggest challenge because if they are managed properly, the entire organization or a large chunk of it gets managed. Vikram Shah, President and Director, NetApp India believes, “Nearly, 30 percent of the people in an organization are the most talented ones. Once these 30 percent are managed properly, the rest of the organization will get managed by them.” Deriving the maximum value for the organization from the highly talented people is the most important key to a leader and to keep their motivation level elevated all the time one needs to massage their ego, adds Shah.

Based on his experience, Shah identifies some of the traits of highly talented people and suggests solutions to deal with them. It is not only the organization which expects from them but even their expectations from their own caliber and from the organization is much higher. Their performance may have a high impact on the organizational growth but there is high maintenance required for such talent as they are usually seen to be more impatient and need attention from the authorities of their organization. There is hardly any need to motivate them as they are a highly motivated group of people and at times their motivation level discomforts the management.

As the highly talented people think differently, they put their ideas into action and do not want to follow processes and organizational hierarchy. Though they have the capacity to deal with complexities, they are complex themselves but if a leader can understand them as they express themselves easily when they slip into frustration. “Since the most talented employees are often tagged as ‘high maintenance’ people, many might perceive that they look for more income. If you ask me, salary is immaterial to them. All they need is appreciation and recognition in their organization,” says Shah.

The greatest challenge for any leader in managing the most talented employees is to identify the needs of the organization and align them with the target of the employees, so that the needs of the talented people and the organization are balanced.

“Talented people are the ones who own the outcome,” says Vijay Anand, Vice President, India Development Center, Intuit. For a leader, it is very important to understand the mass effectively, so that the talented people are not overlooked by the organization.
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