What is Talent?

HAVE YOU GOT WHAT IT TAKES?

You want to be respected, trusted, invested in, promoted. What you really want, what it boils down to here is just this:

talented employees

So what is talent? How do you get it? If you think about it, talent is much more than aptitude and can include things like charisma or attention span. Businesses are falling over themselves to pinpoint it and get it before the competition does. The corporate definition of talent includes people who

  • Will become future leaders
  • Improve organisational performance
  • Stay around (because they're being invested in).

TALENT TRAITS

According to Douglas Ready, Jay Conger, and Linda Hill in a Harvard Business Review article (Are You A High Potential?), talented employees come with the following traits included:

  1. Drive to excel
  2. Learn quickly and have the ability to see what they should do with this new knowledge
  3. A feel for timing
  4. Ability to build trust in their colleagues.

IS TALENT THE SAME IN EVERY SECTOR?

Short answer: no. While stats and figures like the above are great, talent doesn't mean the same thing to different people. A carpenter's talent requirements would be very different to a nurse's, or a marketing director's, or a programming lead's.

CAN TALENT BE LEARNED?

Some people might argue that talent simply means the ability to see what a company needs, and being the person or getting the skills that fill that need. Great news, right? The fact that someone wants to take a course to up their worth as employee certainly indicates drive. Discerning what's really needed in the company is hard, though. Your judgement gets blurred by personal preferences and competitors' choices. It's even harder to see clearly when it's not your company.

SO WHAT DO YOU DO?

The secret is simple. Listen to your superiors and colleagues. What do they complain about? What do they need? If you really want to reach the top of the talent pile, meet those shortcomings.


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