We all have natural talents--those inherent capabilities that put us in "the zone" when it comes to performance. Those are the moments when everything seems easy and the results are first-class.
It's also possible and desirable to learn new skills. But unless they're directly related to our talents, we'll have the sense that we're out of our "zone" and the effort isn't very sustainable.
Managerial Talent: The research
Research done by the IDAK Group shows that:
1. There are three distinct managerial talents.
2. No one in the studies has been found to possess more than one as a talent.
The 3 talents defined: which one is yours?
The following are from the CareerMatch™ diagnostic tool:
--Developing/Initiating. Successfully supervises others in starting up new programs, new systems, branch offices, etc. Think "start up" and getting things up and running. Then, likes to move on when the new thing becomes institutionalized. People like to follow because of the focused energy and enthusiasm this kind of manager brings.
--Planning. Successfully maps out long range details to reach organizational goals. People follow this kind of manager because of the sensibility and clarity of the plan.
--Managing. Successfully supervising others in an established organization, department, branch office, etc. This is the kind of person who enjoys managing performance, getting one-on-one with employees, and running an established system well. People follow the dependability and even-handedness of many of these managers.
Hmm. Every executive/management want ad I've ever seen reads something like this:
"Initiates new programs and implements related changes; responsible for strategic planning and industry-related trend analysis; develops and coaches employees and provides appropriate, ongoing performance feedback..."
Weighed against the research, these kinds of descriptions are setting unattainable expectations. If you have one of the talents you can develop skills in the others. But you need to know that they aren't going to shine through the way your talent will. And that means that the performance expectations have to be discussed according to reality and what's possible in each area.
We've used the CareerMatch™ assessment tool for the past ten years with managers and executives. Three things usually happen:
1. They are relieved to gain a reality-based understanding of the differences in their managerial performance by task. It delineates the various talents that are too often lumped together in job descriptions to try and describe one person--just like the typical ad.
2. Once organizations see a person's managerial talent strength, it becomes more productive for purposes of accurate evaluation and talent movement within the organization. For many it's the first time that actual talents have been identified. (Management is just one area. Communication, Relational, and Functional natural talents are also identified).
3. Managers whose talents really lean toward "individual contributor" are able to be matched with future positions that benefit both them and the organization.
The lesson? It's possible to make "best fit" decisions when it comes to management talent and organizational needs. That means increased performance and increased satisfaction for everyone involved. The healthiest part: Reality-based assignments and developmental plans without the guilt of "You ought to be a _____."
Everyone isn't a manager. But everyone is a performer when they're in the right role at the right time for the right reasons.