MAKE THEM FEEL I MPOR­TANT.

Finweek English Edition - - MANAGEMENT -

As TS Eliot noted: “Most of the trou­ble in this world is caused by peo­ple want­ing to be im­por­tant.” And the rea­son is that oth­ers fail to recog­nise them. Fair­ness is not treat­ing ev­ery­one the same, but as they de­serve to be treated. Ev­ery or­gan­i­sa­tion has high- and low­po­ten­tial em­ploy­ees, but only com­pe­tent man­agers can iden­tify them. If you fail to recog­nise your em­ploy­ees’ cre­ative po­ten­tial, they will go some­where where they feel more val­ued.

A f inal caveat: Even when you are able to man­age your cre­ative em­ploy­ees, it doesn’t mean that you should let them man­age oth­ers. Nat­u­ral in­no­va­tors are rarely gifted with l ead­er­ship sk i l l s. There is a pro­file for good lead­ers and a pro­file for cre­ative peo­ple, and they’re quite dif­fer­ent. Steve Jobs had bet­ter re­la­tion­ships with gad­gets than peo­ple, and most Google engi­neers are ut­terly dis­in­ter­ested in man­age­ment. One of the rea­sons for the rapid plateau of start-ups is that their founders tend to re­main in charge. They should take a cue from Mark Zucker­berg, who brought in Sh­eryl Sand­berg to make up for his own lead­er­ship deficits. Re­search con­firms the stereo­typ­i­cal view that cor­po­rate in­no­va­tors – in­trapreneurs – ex­hibit many of the psy­cho­pathic char­ac­ter­is­tics that pre­vent them from be­ing ef­fec­tive lead­ers: They’re re­bel­lious, anti-so­cial, self­cen­tred and of­ten too low in em­pa­thy to care about the wel­fare of oth­ers. But man­age them well, and their in­ven­tions will de­light us all.

Dr To­mas Chamorro-Pre­muzic is a pro­fes­sor of busi­ness psychology at Univer­sity Col­lege Lon­don, vice pres­i­dent of re­search and in­no­va­tion at Ho­gan As­sess­ment Sys­tems, and co-founder of metapro­fil­ing.com.

© 2013 Har­vard Busi­ness School Pub­lish­ing Corp. Dis­trib­uted by The New York Times Syn­di­cate.

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