Developing Your Talent: Organizational Leadership

leadership development, manager development, talent Hands-on managers, who are often your elevated A performers, face challenges developing their talent while being required to maintain a high level of technical performance. Many do not have the luxury of being able to purely manage their team and projects. Organizations need to recognize the inherent issue of employee retention when mangers do not develop talent and remain task delegators and high producing team members.

Not everyone is meant for management

Of note, not all A performers should be moved into a position of managing people.  If they don’t value developing other people they shouldn’t be moved into a position of managing other people. A better role may to take on a more high level technical position that better suits their disposition and desires. Accepting a position of leading other people just for the money is bad for everyone involved and is a sure way to get high performers to leave. Often time people leave their bosses not their jobs.

For some employees, task delegation and being told what to do is all they want. For others, who are usually your future A performers and managers, the lack of challenges and development will have them seeking employment elsewhere. You are then stuck hiring for new positions while increasing workloads on existing managers and staff. It becomes a vicious cycle where talent becomes stagnant and firm goals are harder to meet.

Too much time in the trenches       

This creates a dilemma for the manager and for the organization. In order to maximize talent an organization and manager must be committed to growing subordinates. If a manager is spending too much time in the trenches, he will eventually suffer by his staff members leaving or not learning and growing. Furthermore, if you are not developing managers to take on more responsibility, your A performer may leave as well.

Long term view

Organizations need to create systems and directives from the top down, which give managers the ability to cultivate talent while still being the hands-on. This means taking the long-term view of talent retention and development for future productivity. This has a few implications, which organizations need to take into account:

  • Slowed production: the hands-on manager and his team may not be able to deliver projects and results as timely as before
  • Learning curve: There will be mistakes along the way as employees mature and learn new skills

The benefits of giving and working with the hands-on manger to cultivate and maturate in-house talent are:

  • Healthier long-term bottom line: less turnover and happier employees
  • Built in redundancy: the manager now has staff with skills that can back him up
  • Employee retention: A and B performers have been challenged and given the ability to learn new tasks and take on more responsibility
  • Higher contribution from managers: they can now spend more time focusing and on departmental and organizational tasks that improve the bottom line

The ability to developing talent depends on the specific business, the health of the organization and their growth cycle. As a rule, it is always better to develop and retain in house talent.

As a manger and organization are you committed to the long-term view and talent cultivation or is everyone in the trenches?

Derek Lauber

image courtesy: dougbelshaw

Related Article:

Creating a Beginners Mind: The Knowing Manager  by Derek Lauber


Great managers are the glue to productivity in organizations. In a 2011 CareerBuilder survey fifty-eight percent of managers surveyed said they didn’t receive any management training.


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