Friday, December 18, 2015

taking giftedness for granted

Every organization has them...people who are gifted at what they do.  They make amazing things happen with limited resources; they seem to do their work effortlessly; they can wait until the last minute and their work is still awesome; they are often lauded for their work more externally then internally; and they are the ones who bring attention and recognition to the organization.  As leaders, we are giddy over their performance and do anything we can to keep them happy and motivated.  But is it enough?  And what is it that gifted people most need to stay engaged at their highest level over a long period of time?  Here is my attempt to answer that question.

  1. Gifted people need to be is not enough to pay them and expect them to do their job.  The extra pats on the back and "atta-boys" are often enough to keep them going for a few more months.  Consistently praising them, both privately and publicly, goes a long way in keeping them happy and productive.
  2. Gifted people need to be rewarded...this goes so far beyond the monetary side of rewards (though that is a part of this).  People who produce want to have the tools they need to produce more and better, and are happy to keep producing at a high level when they know that they can have access to what they need.  The organization that rewards its gifted individuals will keep getting more and more from them over time.
  3. Gifted people need to be protected...these people are often incredibly focused and think about one thing, and because of that focus can tend to frustrate others in the organization.  Leaders need to help these gifted individuals broaden their horizons and help others understand how the gifted individual thinks.  Running interference for the gifted people in our organizations is part of the job of leaders.
  4. Gifted people need to be fed...while giftedness may come naturally to many, it also comes as a result of hard work, and these people are always wanting to learn more so they can do more with their gift.  Sending them to conferences, introducing them to other gifted people, and giving them room to grow as they need to grow are all important for the feeding of their gift and talent.
There is always a dark side to giftedness, thus the reason many gifted individuals burn out or burn bridges behind them.  Setting limits, developing structures, and regular conversations can help our gifted workers navigate these issues and keep them from hurting themselves and others.  Take time today (and during the weeks and months ahead) to care for these people who mean so much to your organization.

1 comment:

LearnerJim said...

Yes. There also has to be a way to open the opportunity to exercise giftedness to everyone in an organization. If the cafeteria server has an idea to improve how food is delivered to students that is very different from the way it is now, there needs to be an encouraged forum for that to happen and be completely considered if it has merit.