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How to Identify Employee's Hidden Talents

| August 4, 2009

by Jim Bruce

There’s lots of advice on finding and attracting staff and on identifying and retaining top performers you already have.  Stephen DeMaio, in a recent blog entry – “How to Identify Employees’ Hidden Talents” – argues that it is even more important to look for your current staff’s hidden strengths to find new skills and talents that have value to the organization.

DeMano suggests four approaches:

1.  Turn a compliment into an interview.  Don’t just praise someone for an excellent job.  Have a conversation to find out what was behind it.

2.  Analyze how people think, not just what they do.  What was your thinking behind taking that approach?

3.  Ask for the reasons behind their preferences.  Why does a particular staff member have the preferences he/she does?  What project characteristics are root causes of fulfillment?  Knowing this enables a manager to better match the project to the staff member.

4.  Ask about your staff’s dreams.  What do you dream of someday doing?

DeMano notes that treating each staff member as “an ocean of talent” gives you access to a much broader pool of talent.

Give it a try this week.  You may be surprised by what you discover!


.  .  .  .  .     jim