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Only One in 10 People Possess the Talent to Manage


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Companies fail to choose the candidate with the right talent for the manager job 82% of the time.

Great managers are scarce because the talent required to be one is rare.

Gallup defines talent as the natural capacity for excellence. 

People can learn skills, develop knowledge and gain experience, but they can't acquire talent -- it's innate. When individuals have the right talent for their role, they're energized by their work, rarely thinking of it as "work" at all. For others whose talent is not the best fit, the same work can feel draining. Talent is the stabilizer: It paves the way for consistently excellent performance.

Gallup has studied the behavior of high performers in every imaginable role, from elite military personnel and teachers to bank tellers and truck drivers. With every role studied, Gallup has found one unwavering truth: Successful people have similar talents. And managers are certainly no exception.

Gallup describes manager talent using five "talent dimensions":

  • Motivator
  • Assertiveness
  • Accountability
  • Relationships
  • Decision-Making

Gallup determined that the five dimensions of manager talent are the greatest predictors of performance across different industries and types of manager roles (such as general manager, field manager and team manager). An individual who exhibits the five dimensions to a high degree has what Gallup calls "high" manager talent. An individual who has many of the talents necessary to be a successful manager but needs support has "functioning" talent. An individual who lacks talent across the five dimensions has "limited" talent and is much less likely to be a successful manager regardless of the support he or she receives.

five dimensions of manager talent chart gallup

Pretty sure I'm everything in the "Limited-talent Managers" category :/

Having worked with you, you're all about the continual improvement and you consider the tradeoffs in crafting the best solution, which are both characteristics of a high talent manger.

Managers with high talent are more likely to focus on strengths. 

Managers with high talent think differently about their jobs and organizations, and they think differently about how to develop their employees. When Gallup asked managers to choose the option that best represented their management approach, 61% of managers with high talent say they take a strengths-based approach, while fewer percentages of managers with functioning or limited talent say the same. Managers with limited talent are more likely than those with high and functioning talent to say they focus equally on employees' strengths and weaknesses.

When employees know and use their strengths, they are more engaged, have higher performance and are less likely to leave their company. In a Gallup study of 1,003 randomly selected U.S. employees, nearly two-thirds (61%) of employees who felt they had a supervisor who focused on their strengths or positive characteristics were engaged -- twice the average (30%) of U.S. workers who are engaged nationwide. A manager's approach to strengths has a profound impact on engagement, and that engagement has a profound impact on just about everything that matters to an organization's long-term viability.

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