The deadly sin in leadership: wasting talent

The most valuable resource at any organization or practice is the employees. One of the deadliest lapses of judgment you can make is wasting talent especially when you’re in control of executing them. The waste of talent, creativity, or manpower is an addition to the seven lethal wastes of lean manufacturing. Underutilizing your employees or incorrectly utilizing them can give rise to devastating repercussions for your business.

In the scope of manufacturing, non-utilized talent can emerge at multiple levels of the organizational ladder. It is easy to overlook talent when the workers aren’t properly evaluated and you fail to acknowledge their hidden flexibility or skillset that aren’t directly in pursuit of the duties they are currently performing. However, this does not mean that their knowledge cannot be applied to give your business a new vantage point.

By keeping an employee with multiple skills in one position may be passing up opportunities to expand their role and involvement in the overall growth of the organization.

How to not let talent go to waste?

In a clinical setting such as orthodontics, talent wastes are more subtle but always present. When hiring an employee, you will run into individuals who are good at collectively different things, so how do you decide which one to recruit? The key is to uncover as many special individual skill potentials and select the employee and deploy them accordingly after consultation.

Discover hidden jewels:

Often times than not, most individuals aren’t aware of their talents or do not recognize their talent as anything special. Making the choice to recruit one over the other is your task. In order to not let go of any unexploited talent, you must be candid with them. The moment you notice a talent, acknowledge the achievement, name it, emphasize that it is something special, and at the same time call upon them to firmly anchor this new insight.

There is nothing better than a motivated employee. It is wise to train them to value problem-solving and active thinking, which in turn promotes their loyalty and performance. If you do not take the time to recognize talent and pay your respects to them, you’re letting go of valuable potentials, manpower, creativity, motivation, and satisfaction.

Rediscover old talents:

The same principle also holds water for your older employees. For example, Lukas Podolski was once again included in the squad of the German national team at the 2016 European Football Championship even when he was past his prime. This was made possible with the impeccable social skills that made him a gem to his team. Likewise, you should take time to nurture your older employees and help re-discover any hidden talents they may possess.

Ask yourself these questions:

The following questions will help you to identify talents among your employees:

  • What is easy for the person?
  • What do they particularly enjoy?
  • What do others say about them?
  • What tasks do they like to talk about?
  • Why are they being asked for advice and what are they good at communicating?

Regular development discussions, observations, and, above all, personal contact are needed to deploy all employees according to their skills.

Beware of too-much talent

An international study conducted by Roderick Swaab of sports teams from various disciplines shows that in teams whose members are highly interdependent, such as in football or basketball, too many talents or “stars” tend to prevent cooperative and collaborative work towards a common goal.

Because each star uses more energy, time, and motivation to outshine the others and come under the limelight, it prevents optimization of the process and ultimately the quality of the result. Such a combination creates a high risk of waste. Here, the concept of marginal use and marginal costs can be clearly depicted, as more workers do not necessarily mean more performance.

As the leader, it is your task to make an unpleasant decision without hesitation while recruiting or training your staff. Make well-informed decisions in order to restore the balance in the work structure and increase effectiveness while reducing waste. Don’t waste talent, nurture it!

You'll find more articles in my blog:

Read more