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The Most Powerful Management Trick

November 1, 2011

I was hunkered down the other day in a windowless conference room with three colleagues, discussing what we enthusiastically refer to at my company as “Talent Management.”

You might think this means we were busy charting Hollywood careers, or perhaps determining how our employees might stack up in an entertainment competition. But no, it’s just the glammed-up version of the function formerly known as Human Resources.

We were considering the promotion of a superstar employee from analyst to department manager.

“You should see this guy whip through a spreadsheet model,” said one.

“He’s the smartest analyst on the team,” declared another.

“Plus he plays a mean blues riff on the guitar,” spoke the third.

As the room swelled with praise for this young man’s astute analytical capabilities, I interjected an innocent-enough question: “Sure, he’s got killer technical skills, but how is he with, you know, people?

The room fell silent as they began to ponder the obvious.

It’s the oldest story in the business book: Superstar worker gets promoted to manager. He has no people skills, whatsoever. No one ever explains what the leader’s role is supposed to look like. And, voila! Not only do you lose a star performer, but you gain a bad manager.

There goes the team.

If you want to learn the Greatest Management Trick, click here to keep reading the rest of this post over at The High Calling!

Image by Breno Peck. Used with permission. Sourced via Flickr.

5 Comments leave one →
  1. November 1, 2011 8:21 am

    The best managers in my professional life have been tough and at teh same sensitive to people. It’s a difficult balance, but one that is critical.

    I have worked with great, astute tacticians who were so prickly that work was just painful. C’mon — it’s okay to show a human side!

    • Susan DiMickele permalink
      November 1, 2011 9:10 am

      Ok but a bad manager took years off my life, really!

  2. Susan DiMickele permalink
    November 1, 2011 9:09 am

    Headed over to thc, trying to leave a comment on my new iPhone!

  3. November 1, 2011 12:21 pm

    Right on target. See this recent article in Computerworld Magazine:

    Character counts, especially in management.

  4. November 7, 2011 9:24 pm

    Great post!!! A persons talent is never enough to place them into a leadership/management role. It requires talent in the chosen field plus the ability to be an effective leader which is all about people skills.

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