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Manage Talent & Create Champions

Manage Talent & Create Champions

Similar to an Olympic coach preparing for Sochi, leaders are expected to continually observe, assess, and develop their employees. The most important goal for a leader is to develop the best - A players - to be even more productive and effective. In elite sports, these are the ones who practice hard every day, go the extra mile, and, like Lindsey Vonn, are tenacious in the face of adversity and injury. In business, these are the game-changers and the top-line producers. The ones who raise the bar bring the big ideas and get the job done.

While leaders are scouting their A players and helping them unleash their maximum potential, they must also encourage their B players to keep passing the ball and inspire their C players to raise their game.

Here are five ways that leaders can coach their employees into champions:

  1. Develop and communicate the game plan: What is the whole strategy, and what position do they play? When individuals have a line of sight to business objectives, they can make better decisions. Leaders should be inclusive and respectful, allowing them to provide input on key decisions and communicate their findings and learnings to one another. By encouraging team members to play to their strengths so the entire team and organization leads the competition, goals will be met and the employees' sense of accomplishment of seeing that their work matters will be a motivator.
  2. Assign the A players on special and most critical project teams: Give them tough problems to solve. This is like putting your best athletes on the field at critical times.
  3. Measure performance and communicate expectations on a regular basis: Reward and acknowledge all contributions. Provide timely feedback, support, and challenges. Let them know when they are on or off their game. For example, when B players see that the As are recognized and given choice roles, they will get a better sense of what they need to do to become an A player.
  4. Be clear about roles and their relationships to key stakeholders: This is about everyone playing their positions and knowing when to toss the ball to the right person at the right time. Everyone needs to know whose work is critical to helping employees achieve their goals and building trusting relationships.
  5. Communicate confidence in your best players: If you have provided the direction, guidance, and feedback, allow them to perform and then just get out of their way. Allow your best players to make adjustments as needed without micromanaging.

Not everyone is a superstar. Not everyone wants to move up in an organization. Not everyone can lead an organization. Yet everyone can be a leader in his or her own role. Listen to your employees and provide them with the tools they need to succeed and be at the top of their game.


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