Top com­pa­nies con­stantly fo­cus on tal­ent man­age­ment

Finweek English Edition - - Unittrusts -

LEAD­ER­SHIP is the sin­gle most im­por­tant at­tribute of any or­gan­i­sa­tion, says Steve Smith, se­nior ex­ec­u­tive at man­age­ment con­sult­ing com­pany Ac­cen­ture.

Speak­ing on CNBC’s in­for­ma­tive Africa’s Board­room, Smith em­pha­sised that com­pa­nies with tal­ented and able lead­ers have a clear ad­van­tage when they are faced with de­mand­ing busi­ness cy­cles.

A strong and fo­cused lead­er­ship pulls the or­gan­i­sa­tion through dif­fi­cult times and has the vi­sion to excel in good times, Smith says. “A strong leader has the abil­ity to iden­tify where the or­gan­i­sa­tion’s weak­nesses, short­com­ings and op­por­tu­ni­ties are. He knows where he is tak­ing the or­gan­i­sa­tion, com­mu­ni­cates it ef­fec­tively and mo­ti­vates the peo­ple around him/her to achieve the ob­jec­tives.”

An or­gan­i­sa­tion also needs a strong leader to iden­tify and build on its strengths and tal­ent, Smith says. “One of the key char­ac­ter­is­tics from a lead­er­ship point of view is the abil­ity to quickly iden­tify a lead­er­ship team’s tal­ents and then har­ness their re­spec­tive skills to achieve the best pos­si­ble re­sults.”

Jonathan Cook, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor at the Gor­don In­sti­tute of Busi­ness Sci­ence (GIBS), adds that a strong leader and a strong man­age­ment team around him can’t be sep­a­rated. “In a sense the leader is a cre­ation of the team that sup­ports him/her: they work closely to­gether and one of the key as­pects of lead­er­ship suc­cess is to what ex­tent a team can be mo­ti­vated, in­spired and con­se­quently pull to­gether.”

Cook says the process of iden­ti­fy­ing and de­vel­op­ing lead­ers in any or­gan­i­sa­tion has to be a com­bined ef­fort of the HR func­tion and man­age­ment. “We don’t do enough in this re­gard in SA and on the Con­ti­nent. Al­though some lead­ers do just that, we ex­pect lead­ers to sort of pop up. How­ever, there are other peo­ple who have the po­ten­tial of be­com­ing great lead­ers if only they were recog­nised, ac­knowl­edged and given the op­por­tu­nity to shine.”

Cook stresses that not all good lead­ers are charis­matic – a per­son who is nat­u­rally fol­lowed. “If you are not charis­matic, it doesn’t mean that you can’t lead – it means that you have to find your own way of in­flu­enc­ing peo­ple: qui­etly, per­sua­sively by in­tel­lect or sin­cer­ity or in other ef­fec­tive ways.”

An­other very im­por­tant fac­tor is that no one should be jeal­ous or even anx­ious about tal­ented staff mem­bers emerg­ing as lead­ers. Says Smith: “It is im­por­tant that com­pa­nies have the pro­cesses in place to en­sure that the ap­pro­pri­ate tal­ent is ap­pointed. Be in touch with your tal­ent.”

Tal­ent man­age­ment is there­fore an im­por­tant agenda item that or­gan­i­sa­tions should con­stantly fo­cus on.

But how should or­gan­i­sa­tions go about iden­ti­fy­ing and de­vel­op­ing tal­ent?

Natalie Davies, head of in­terim man­age­ment at Cy­can, says there are spe­cific qual­i­ties that you have to look for. Al­though dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies have dif­fer­ent re­quire­ments, be­hav­iour pos­i­tives like val­ues, pas­sion, clar­ity and fo­cus are im­por­tant when ini­ti­at­ing any tal­ent search.

Cook adds that a leader should also have the de­sire and drive to lead. “Also look for peo­ple who have fol­low­ers in terms of agree­ing with him, be­ing in­spired by him and want­ing to go where he is lead­ing them.

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