You already know that turning talent into performance requires a true understanding of talent. Spotting talent, hiring talent, developing talent, and coaching talent. . . it’s mission critical.
Here’s a little something you may not have thought about before, though: every innate talent at an extreme level of intensity, can have its downside. One of my clients recently observed, “Talent can be used for good or evil!”
- Take charge and convincing is good. Bossy is bad.
- Social and people-oriented is good. Long-winded, over-talking is bad.
- Competitive and driven is good. Cut-throat is bad.
Our research of the very best sales managers out there clearly identified 13 innate talents that separate the “best” from the “rest.” One of these key separators, Delegator, is the talent that makes a manager highly successful at matching the right people to the right tasks, enlisting the help of others, and ultimately maximizing efficiency. Great managers know who is good at what, and they naturally assign responsibilities, accounts, and projects to those with the strengths to be successful. This creates a strong sense of ownership for employees and is also proven to grow people, allowing them to develop their innate abilities over time.
You can see the downside of over-delegating though. Dumping work on others, appearing to dish it all out while assuming very little personal responsibility, passing things off without providing the guidance or support necessary for success. . . . Delegation, like any other behavior, when taken to an extreme, is unhealthy.
Take this time to ask yourself, are you using your talents for good or for evil?
Follow this simple exercise to find out:
- Consider your greatest talents. Ideally you will want to use the results of a validated talent instrument like the Profit Center Manager Interview, but if you have not completed a talent assessment like this or have never received detailed feedback on your own talents, that’s okay.
- Ask those you trust to share two or three behaviors they feel are most intense and highly consistent for you. In other words, when they think of you, what behaviors do they immediately think of? You could even survey people anonymously if you think that might help you to garner more useful information.
- Compile all of the responses you’ve received and note which behaviors were listed by others most frequently. There is a good chance that those are consistent strengths for you.
- Consider how those behaviors can be positively maximized in your work each day. Commit to at least one specific action you will take in order to ensure you are using that talent for good on a regular basis.
- Think about any negative effects that could happen with the most extreme display of those intense behaviors and consider how can you avoid the evil.
- Remember that a talent “out of control” can work against you in the same way as a weakness. Commit to these specific strategies to ensure you are maximizing your talents and turning talent into performance.
Too much of a good thing isn't a good thing. But if you stay alert to your talents' potential for negative effects, you can make the most of your natural abilities for good.