Accept the responsibility to shepherd your talent
“Growth and development of people is the highest calling of leadership.”
If this quote by Harvey Firestone is true, and I would argue it is, then the most important skill every leader should have is to develop others. To “Shepherd” the talent in our companies, departments, families and in ourselves.
What is the definition of a “Shepherd”?
I went to the Webster’s Dictionary, and a definition of a shepherd, was “a person who protects, guides or watches over a person or group of people.” Isn’t that pretty much what we should do every day as we run a business or department? As a leader of a company, you have the responsibility to shepherd the talent of your employees. But I would also extend the shepherd concept to all areas of our lives: beyond our company or department at work. You also have a responsibility to be a shepherd of your family, and ultimately, of yourself.
At work, there needs to be a leader of the organization who is accountable for shepherding the talent. Someone needs to own it or it will own you. In many cases, it is the company leader or it might be the head of the Human Resources Department or Organizational Development. Whoever it is, the person must have the skill set and training to be the shepherd of talent.
What is the Shepherd of the Talent responsible for?
As the shepherd, you are responsible to help your team members understand, own and leverage their natural talents. To lead them through a leadership development process that focuses on their greatest development priorities. Developing each team member to higher performance every year leads to building the highest performance team in your industry and record financial performance.
Shepherding the talent in your family is a very important responsibility as well. Developing a career plan with each of your children helps them optimize their talents and sets them up to enjoy a fulfilling life. It has not always been easy, but watching each of my kids experience the benefits of a career plan that is centered on their unique talents has been one of my greatest rewards.
The irony is even though developing others is one of the most important skills leaders today must have, there are limited training opportunities to learn how to do it. To help you become better at developing others Stop The Vanilla is providing Shepherd of the Talent Training Seminars in May 2019.