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Finding Pearls and Recognising Talents

Leaders and managers have a responsibility to be like these teachers. Identify the potential in their teams, nourish it, develop people’s skills and, when needed push people and insist they “have a go”.

Sunday 3 January 2010

The end of 2009 was a busy time for our family and included Awards nights and graduation events. Reflecting on these events I wanted to share some observations I think are particularly relevant for leaders in the workplace.  

As many parents can relate to, my daughter’s primary school held a graduation ceremony for their year seven children to celebrate their achievements and movement to secondary school – this included a whole school assembly, mass and low key dinner for the students.  

What amazed me was the range of talent that was uncovered and put on show.  I’m not talking about the child who puts their hand up for everything or who year after year builds on a predictable track record of high achievement (though this is not unimportant).  What I saw uncovered were some pearls that had been growing over time, hidden from view and waiting to be discovered.  

These pearls included a year six boy who hosted a 20 minute skit, made the adults laugh and made little or no reference to a script.  This is a boy who is normally quiet, reserved and studious – who would have thought he would perform in front of the entire school.  

At the Year Seven Mass, one of the girls sang like an angel with a voice mature beyond her years. Again this child would not normally perform at such an event.  

These discoveries are not unusual and will probably happen again next year and occur in many schools, but how is it that these kids are identified, come out of their shells and display awesome talents?  The answer lies in their teachers.  

It is the teacher who identifies the hidden potential, who looks for the talents displayed in one activity and applies these to other activities.  The teacher who provides the opportunity for the kids to step up as well as not providing the opportunity for them to say no.  The dedicated teacher encourages, supports and guides their students, showing them that even when others don’t believe the child is capable, the teacher believes they are.

Unfortunately I don’t think such discoveries and nurturing occur often enough in the workplace.

Leaders and managers have a responsibility to be like these teachers.  Identify the potential in their teams, nourish it, develop people’s skills and, when needed push people and insist they “have a go”.  They must show confidence in people.  Importantly,leaders and managers must recognise and reward their people for displaying and using their talents.  

If you would like more information on getting the best from your people please contact us for support and advice.


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