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What to do with slowly-developing talents

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Ted Blackwater |
Slow progressing employee
Going slowly   Pay attention to all kinds of talents you have

Every leader wants top talents and top performers in their team, but what about an employee who obviously has potential but is not developing it? You, the leader, can help greatly.

Two things are certain these days: the business world lives a frenetic and fast life, and everybody wants only "top of the top" workers in their organization. But what to do when you have an employee who obviously has potential but is progressing slower? If your first impulse is to get rid of her, stop for a while and think about it.

First, give your employees time to focus. Business world today is extremely fast and it becomes hard for our brain to process all information it is bombarded with. Then, some people need more time for that and that's absolutely normal, so you should give them time.

You can do either by a) leaving that employee on the current project until you see an improvement or b) creating a flexible work schedule in which every employee has part of time for their own projects.

Then, put educational programs in place. This is beneficial for all employees, of course, but even more so for those who develop slowly than others. And make those program diverse, don't stick just to one core program, make it as diverse as your company's departments are.

Ask, ask, ask, and then ask again. When you ask somebody to explain the job at hand, her answers are the best learning tool out there. To be able to explain to you what she is doing, she must be able to explain it to herself first. This is, in a way, an "internal education" during which the employee is her own teacher and student at the same time. A little brain game that works.

Give them a clear feedback, in a clear and simple way. And give it frequently. Some people just need more time to develop, some need more encouraging than others, and some are just too insecure.

This have another advantage: you yourself will with time learn to explain everything in a clear and concise way and that can be very helpful. For example, when you are talking to an investor who doesn't know much about your field.

Treat failure as a lesson. Be aware that every failure affects the person that made it harder than anybody else, so don't stick to "1st, 2nd, 3rd mistake - you're fired!" philosophy. Give your feedback with focusing on what can be learned from that particular mistake.

The moral of the whole story is what somebody said long time ago: Even the slowest student may in time be as successful as the fastest one. So, give them a chance and you will be rewarded.


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