It’s Our Responsibility to Grow the Talent We Lead

In my life, learning and education have been vital to my growth and development. After high school, I went to a technical school to learn radiation safety. After I started working full time, I came to realize that, if I wanted to advance, I would need some additional schooling. I spent 20 years at night school and in online classes to obtain my bachelor’s and master’s degrees. What you learn can never be taken away from you. My focus is to pass on this value by enabling our future talent in their quest for education and development. We live in a world that allows us to have information and technology at our fingertips. You need high learning agility to keep up.

In the book Lean In by Sheryl Sandberg, I came upon this quote: “at a certain point, it’s your ability to learn quickly and contribute quickly that matters.” I agree with this notion, and I believe it’s our responsibility as leaders to help grow our talent to a place where they can contribute quickly.

Over the years, I have come to realize that without good people, we will not succeed. This seems obvious; however, reality has shown time and time again people leave their positions because they do not feel valued or they are not being developed. I recently took over a new organization, and one of the common themes that came through when meeting with each person was, “What development opportunities will I have in this new directorate?”  

One of the most important things we can do for our people is show them that they are valued and provide them development opportunities. Additionally, when people are in learning environments that are psychologically safe, it allows them the ability to not be “graded,” but rather to receive feedback on what they did really well and some opportunities for improvement. We spend a great deal of time with our staff conducting Dynamic Learning Activities (DLAs), which train staff in a safe environment that allows each staff member to make mistakes and not be judged.

Our talented people have so much potential just waiting to be tapped. However, if they are never developed or provided the opportunity to test their bounds, how will we ever know? Furthermore, how will they ever know? We may employ people who have a real passion for something that they aren’t currently doing. Getting the right people in the correct seats is so important. This is not only important for their development, but also because then they love what they are doing, people are more productive.