Leaders: Trust Your Talent

In another capacity other than my job here at Datagroup, I lead a non-profit organization. In another workplace, I have followed average management. Here at Datagroup, and as far as I can tell, the leader (soon to be famous CEO Joe) here is a great manager of people. So what I have learned from these various leadership capacities? I’ll be sharing those thoughts over the next few weeks.

In a workplace like ours, in particular a technology-driven workplace, something odd and unprecedented happens. Talent and tenacity become as important as¬†experience and education. You may say that talent and tenacity are just as important in other workplaces as well…but that’s not true. They are just added bonuses. In a technology-driven workplace, or even in a creative economy workplace like the sciences or arts, talent and tenacity aren’t bonuses…they are requirements. Firms like ours (Datagroup) search out the finest talent from the pool of qualified individuals…and then let them loose. The first part, most people get. The second part is much more difficult.

A Culture of Trusted Talent Starts at the TopI have seen so far from working here at Datagroup that CEO Joe knows talent when he sees it…and then he lets it loose on a project. Sure, he follows up on the project, make sure that it’s being done up to DTI standards, but he doesn’t micromanage, he just keeps accountable. That is a huge difference. It boils down to this: great business leaders take on great talent, but then they trust that same talent to do the job they hired them to do.

Both myself and my coworkers are extremely skilled at our particular jobs. Yet no one person here understands the intricacies of all the other jobs, including CEO Joe. I couldn’t repair a server if it went down and my life depended on it. My coworkers couldn’t program a massive PHP script. But here’s the thing: we trust one another’s talent to get the job done. This culture of trust makes for a great workplace that is innovative, open to new ideas, and efficient.

And leaders, as with all corporate cultural qualities (good or bad), this starts at the top. A culture of trusted talent starts with you.

3 Major Ways to Trust Your Talent

  • Give them a side project. If you’re reading this, you’re reading my side project. Yes, it’s for the company. But SmarterBiz does not directly bring in income for us. But CEO Joe sees the importance of SB, both in my development and in the company’s culture. This is a greater investment than any dollar amount.
  • Listen to your employees. We don’t have regular staff meetings. But among the staff, we regularly meet. If Joe’s thinking about something, he’ll walk in and draw it on the whiteboard for my co-worker and myself to have input on. He’s not prideful enough to think that every idea he has is great in and of itself. He wants criticism, only to make the idea better. A mark of a great leader, and one who trusts the people he’s hired. This is a reflection on his talent recruiting and leadership.
  • Don’t micromanage. If you’re breathing over your employees’ necks, do them a favor: stop. Sure, you should be involved with their projects to make sure they fit your company’s standard. But if you want to be involved in every detail, give them something else to do, and you do the job yourself. You’ve hired your people for a reason. Let them do their job.

Do these things, among others, and you’ll start to build a culture of trusted talent. And it’ll pay off. That’s why talent and tenacity are so important: it pays the bills.

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