Manage a Particularly Delicate Performing Resource

When working, it happens more often to have to deal with the problem of unmotivated employees or not enough in line with the expectations one mature at the time of hiring. So I guess that I will get a lot of criticism stating that, however, even a very intelligent, prepared, very performing collaborator can create management problems.

The advantages of talent management are many: sharing a collective goal, managing work with the emotional side as well as the rational one, experiencing the coherence between culture and processes, creating organizations in which people of value obtain results that exceed expectations.

There is no doubt that people of particular value bring excellent results and regularly exceeds objectives; not needing particular attention and able to operate in full autonomy.

Talent is certainly an asset that stands out from the others, which can make a difference. Talent is such if it emerges not only for its distinctive technical skills (the best performer) but also for its communication skills and its transversal skills. This is why we say that a person has talents, but he is also a talent.

To manage talented people and their potential, it is certainly necessary to build a fertile environment around him, so that he can express himself and perform at his best. Otherwise, it will be a wasted talent. Talent, finally, proves to be the key factor that can make a company make the leap in quality. And in fact, everyone (rightly) is looking for and pampering him/her.

Everything is certainly correct: having a very talented employee in one’s team is the dream of all managers. But, precisely for this reason, are we so sure that uncommon leadership skills are not needed to manage him/her?

In essence, it is a resource that must always feel busy and productive, but, at the same time, we must be careful that it does not exaggerate with consequences also on its health. She is hungry for positive feedback, but you have to know how to dose them, so as not to extinguish the motivation to grow.

Particularly delicate is the aspect related to the resource’s ability (uncertain) to integrate into a team, how it manages group dynamics, and how the group accepts it without feeling “downgraded”.

The (not easy) task of a leader is in fact to encourage the resource to network and to commit to working with others by collaborating and sharing, behavior, the latter, not always spontaneous on the part of those who are particularly good!!

As mentioned, one of the hardest things to manage with an extremely knowledgeable and self-confident resource is making sure his or her job is consistently challenging and stimulating, which means studying a suitable development plan, investigating his/her expectations, understanding the project that the person has in mind, direct him/her to a precise path, without however feeding false illusions or expectations. One must be able to offer him/her the opportunity to acquire always new skills and refine old ones. Encourage him/her to collaborate with other divisions or departments, to broaden their perspective, and at the same time have the confirmation of their operational flexibility.

Give them a lot of trust, delegate, in short, a lot of autonomy.

This type of resource also requires more praise and reassurance than other collaborators. And this is an operation that requires great balance and measure. Because it is also necessary that this resource remains anchored to the reality of a context that goes beyond the single person and, therefore, demonstrates the ability to recognize the contributions of the other team members. This, consequently, means that he/she must demonstrate that they can cultivate relationships with colleagues. Many resources with exceptional talents enter a kind of parallel dimension, in which they isolate themselves from the rest of the world. They have a hard time developing relationships with colleagues and focus solely on their personal performance.

Moreover, a team leader who finds himself/herself managing such a special resource could be worried about his/her role and, consequently, he could contrast with this resource, to the point of losing it. It is advisable not to follow this logic, for two reasons.

The first is that if the company realizes that, through our fault, it is giving talent to the competition, will be us to probably lose work.

The second is that for a leader it is an opportunity to demonstrate the ability to manage “stars” and this is a leadership skill quite requested,  which goes far beyond mere excellence in terms of performance. On the other hand, a leader is measured even by the results that his/her collaborators bring, which is a direct function of how he/she knows how to manage them.

Ultimately, we can say that the major focus must be on enhance talent, yes, but in relation to the team and not as a real individual exceptionality.

And it’s not that simple!


Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo Delli Paoli
Aldo is a lawyer and teacher of law & Economic Sciences, "lent" to the finance world. He has worked, in fact, 35 years long for a multinational company of financial service in the auto sector, where he held various roles, until that of CEO. In the corporate field, he has acquired skills and held positions as Credit Manager, Human Resource Manager, Team leader for projects of Acquisition & Merger, branch opening, company restructuring, outplacement, legal compliance, analysis and innovation of organizational processes, business partnerships, relations with Trade Unions and Financial Control Institutions. After leaving the company, he continued as an external member of the Board of Directors e, at the same time, he has gone back practicing law and was a management consultant for various companies. He has been also a columnist for newspapers specializing in labor law, automotive services and work organization. His interests include human behavior in the organizational environment, to the neuroscience, the impact of new technologies, the fate of the planet and people facing poverty or war scenarios. He loves traveling, reading, is passionate about many sports, follows the NBA and practices tennis.

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