For me, talent is the happy blend of experience, skills, work, and ambition; all of which is sprinkled with courage, passion, humility, self-esteem, compassion, and resilience. There are many elements that cannot be learned in school and that defines an individual’s talent at different levels. We can therefore speak of talented managers without necessarily speaking of “superior potential”.
For the executive recruiter, there is no shortage of manpower but rather a lack of talent. Despite the ups and downs of our economy, I note that for more than 10 years, Quebec has been experiencing a period of full employment. On the other hand, we can speak of scarcity when we refer to the hiring of competent managers. This is an important problem but also an extraordinary context in which there are many opportunities for those who are learning to manage their careers strategically.
In our HR and recruiting community, we can already imagine that one day the executive recruiter will have the same role as that of an artist’s/athlete’s agent; why not go even further and consider that one day the executive recruiter will become an auctioneer who will put the most talented managers at the highest bidder’s disposal? The depiction may seem a bit confusing but think about the concept rather than the image.
Finally, since we’re not there yet, I’d rather think about increasing the pool of talented managers and offer young executives who represent the next generation a few observations based on my long experience working with great leaders in the business world.
The 6 recommendations of an “old” executive recruiter for current and future leaders:
First recommendation :
After a few years of experience on the job market, try to set yourself a goal; I could say “goals», but I prefer a goal that is composed of 4 or 5 criteria. For example: what kind of business model I am interested in; in what region I want to work; what are the values I am looking for in an employer; in what role can I be the most efficient according to my experience and blossom. Thus, when an opportunity arises, you can conclude whether it meets your objective and make a better career decision. The opportunity must meet the objective. If it does not, you will quickly know how to align the recruiter who approached you with the specifics of the type of mandate you are aiming for. This way, his or her next call will be more relevant to you!
Second recommendation :
Are you young and ambitious? Choose a boss from whom you can learn and who wants to pull you up. How do you figure that out? Speak up, ask the question, and observe. An exasperated or overly busy manager will not have time to teach you much. On the contrary, if that is his or her goal, he or she will take the time to explain “how” he or she will do it.
Third recommendation :
Compensation is important but not as important as the time you will invest with an employer who may or may not help you grow. Two years with an employer who offers you extraordinary conditions but does not contribute to your growth as a leader is two precious years lost. Time is a crucial investment in the skills development process.
Fourth recommendation :
Learn to express yourself: communication is essential, and your communication skills will be indispensable to your fulfillment as a manager. For many, this skill is not always easy to develop. Here are a few tips: Stop postponing opportunities to express yourself; politeness is the main rule to be respected and its lack is unforgivable; then comes the delicate management of your emotions. Learning to communicate takes practice and you may make mistakes during the process; if you have respected the rule of politeness, you will always have the opportunity to recover and make amends even if you have mismanaged your emotions. Listening is often your best ally in expressing yourself effectively.
Fifth recommendation :
Understand that if you are looking for a managerial title that will become increasingly important, you must assume it and behave accordingly. Success will lead you to serve as a role model for the people around you; in an ideal world, no one wants to see their boss behave badly.
Sixth recommendation :
I remind you that you are in a market of full employment, which is equivalent to saying that there is an imbalance between the demand and the supply of talented managers. This is a fantastic but also dangerous context that I will come back to in a future article.
In conclusion, I would like to take a moment to thank all the capable and talented leaders that I have had the privilege of working with over the years. You have allowed me to develop my reflexes as an executive recruiter, to recognize you more easily and effectively and to guide those who aim to become value-added leaders in turn. I will leave you with just one caution: the talent scarcity currently affecting the market will present you (seasoned managers) with a multitude of interesting opportunities. However, you should not fall into the trap of seizing all of them and moving from one to the other because this will ultimately harm your value. Knowing how to make the right choices and using good judgment are also key skills shared by talented managers.