Career Advice Career Guidance and Counselling

Developing your top talent is critical to building a successful team

While professional accolades and technical skills can get you so far up the career ladder, it takes a team to progress beyond a managerial title. Choosing the right people and getting the team composition right is your entry point to the next level of management.

There are a few ways to get there and the first is to acknowledge the importance of investing more time with your best people as opposed to be being weighed down by underperformers. There is no doubt that many underperformers can transform into top talent with time and support. Typically these are individuals who either have not been trained effectively, or had insufficient mentoring during their initial time in the role. Therefore, there will be some skill gaps.

As you progress, it is critical that your top talent receive adequate development training. Unfortunately people managers can neglect the high performers, assuming that they prefer independence and autonomy. This usually happens when too much time is focused on underperformers to try and get them up to “expectations”.

With the efforts invested in getting to know your entire team better, identifying the strong players with the competency to be groomed into managers will come naturally. This is the time to manage your team according to their strengths; it is not necessary to constantly “improve” on their weaknesses review after review. This can be very discouraging, and the key here is to manage shortcomings and not allow weaknesses to be their point of failure or discouragement.

Strong management team players can be those who, apart from excelling at their core responsibilities, are culture carriers or influencers within the business and have an exceptional skill set which is valuable to your organisation.

These are the individuals who are likely to go the extra mile and execute the role as if it were their own business. You will also be setting some succession planning in place as a few future managers with a natural flair for leadership will emerge from the plan you set in place.


This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as Time for team talk.