Tapping Hidden Talent

The same day that I posted the hidden talent entry, there was a piece by writer Amy Joyce in the Washington Post on the same topic! Called "Untapped Potential," Joyce examines the reality that many employees have more to offer if they are just asked. Here are some excerpts:

The vast land of workers is full of them: people who do their jobs but have much more to offer. These people could possess great hidden leadership talent or smart ideas about how to run things better.

The only problem is how to identify these so-called high-potential employees.

Just about any workplace could be teeming with them. Now if only a management team could recognize who has such potential.

Finding talent that is already within an organization is a smart business move. For one thing, cultivating existing talent can save money on hiring additional labor.
Discovering the potential within your organization is also important because it can boost morale. Those workers whose ideas and interests aren't tapped by management will retreat into their cubicle shadows and become ambivalent about their jobs.

Too many executives and managers look around casually and pick people they then turn into the office stars. That's not always the best way to assure the chosen ones will thrive, however. For instance, some people are simply better at selling themselves but might not have the right attributes, while an employee who truly has high potential remains camouflaged.

High-potential employees have these attributes in common:

• They are ready and willing: These workers are always up for new tasks. They create opportunities for personal and professional growth. They also have a willingness to take career and business risks to accomplish these goals.

• They are willing to admit what they don't know: High-potential workers have the guts to look at their own performance objectively. They can admit weakness, which shows that they are self-confident and want to continue to do better.

• They are quick learners: They are able to take on new information quickly and can get beneath the surface of issues by "learning about others' perspectives, motives and prejudices."

Posted by Terrence Seamon, 03/21/2006


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