Finding and fostering talent is arguably the greatest challenge to face any middle-market business owner. How can you get better at the identification and nurturing of employees who will make a real difference to the success and value of your company?
Take the time to read Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent. It provides an excellent playbook for moving your talent scout abilities from average to great. Author Sydney Finkelstein spent a decade researching the traits of top business leaders, such as Ralph Lauren, Alice Waters, Larry Ellison and Bill Walsh, to discover their secrets for developing and leading great people.
Finkelstein found that superbosses shared several characteristics, despite their wildly different industries, including:
- Stay open to candidates with unconventional backgrounds. Superbosses are always on the lookout for talent and fight for potential candidates they feel are a good culture fit, despite an unconventional resume or lack of experience. The leaders in Finkelstein’s book also keep their candidate pipeline full, even when they’re not currently hiring because they know circumstances can change quickly.
- Form master-apprentice relationships. These business leaders devote considerable hands-on effort to coaching their employees through new opportunities and the inevitable mistakes that occur as any person learns and grows.
- Balance collegiality and competition. Great bosses encourage competition but don’t let it get out of hand. For tips on how to keep competition positive, consult Insperity’s blog post: Competition at Work: 3 Tips to Keep It Healthy and Motivational.
- Part on friendly terms. Rather than resenting an employee who is leaving the company, superbosses remain cordial with those who seek new or different opportunities. The thinking is that these employees may go off to learn something new and eventually boomerang back with additional skills and contacts that will benefit the business later. Even if a protégé doesn’t come back, superbosses appreciate that they have a strong contact, and potential resource, at another company.
Middle-market companies need to make every employee count. Superbosses is the book to help your company’s leaders learn how to find and develop human capital that drives your business to new heights.
By Jessica Johns Pool.
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