When you hear talent, you probably associate the term with American Idol, the Olympics, or the Oscars. Let’s talk about talent in the workplace. You know, the thing that initially got you hired.
Talent is high in demand. Manpower recently documented that 52% of American companies are struggling to fill open positions. Why? They’re looking for individuals with specific credentials and proven performance. Where do these credentials and performance factors come from? You’re probably thinking tuition dollars — but more importantly, your credentials and performance come from…..your talent. Talent is your natural, innate ability, your personal aptitude –something you just have.
Ideally, individuals consider their natural ability and interest level when choosing an occupation. For example, if you enjoy writing (which I obviously do) and believe you are decent at it, pursue a career in which you will maximize your writing abilities. That’s where talent in the workplace comes into play. Recognize your natural abilities, sharpen your skills (through education and/or experience), and contribute to your organization with the proficiencies only you can provide.
That’s truly what you as managers look for — natural talent. However, there is a perpetual battle in the workplace (primarily among trainers and managers) known as the TALENT VS. POTENTIAL battle. While talent is the natural ability to do and perform, potential refers to the possibility of doing and performing an even greater job function – but the abilities are not quite there. Potential requires training, coaching, and development. Potential refers to the future. Talent is in the present – it’s what you already bring to the table. Potential can be enticing in managers’ eyes because they may want to mold the individual and his/her talent into a different, perhaps larger role. Although potential is exciting and can generate positive performance in the future, a talented individual is one who demonstrates both high performance and high potential. Bottom line, the talent has to be in place before the potential (as in the chicken before the egg — or was it the egg before the chicken??).
So – what’s your talent? Why were you hired? Did your hiring manager recognize a spark within you – a void that couldn’t be filled by another? On the flip side– where do you see your potential? Are you looking to be recognized for something more? It’s your responsibility to contribute to your company or agency by utilizing your strengths and your talents. If you do so – you may will be rewarded for your talents, or perhaps recognized for greater potential.
Just remember, our workforce is seeking talented individuals – ones who come with those initial abilities to get the job done. Your personal abilities contribute to your company in a way that no other can. So bring forth your talent – Remember why you were hired in the first place – by demonstrating your value and your uniqueness, and ultimately, your continuous potential.