What’s the Difference between Talent Leadership and Talent Management?

“One of the greatest talents of all is the talent to recognize and to develop talent in others.” – Colin Powell. 

The differences between talent leadership and talent management boil down to the differences between leadership and management. A leader inspires. A manager plans. An intelligent leader is a source of motivation for his/her followers, while a manager works to find flaws and eliminate them from the system.

A leader inspires people. A leader has followers. 

In today’s increasingly globalized and competitive economy, it has become more difficult than ever to deliver breakthrough operational results, thus fulfilling shareholders’ ever more acute thirst for results and success. For leaders, these demands will only increase in the future. The need to identify and develop high-potential and emerging leaders has never been greater as currently leading executives grow eligible for retirement.

The demands posed by this extraordinary challenge require more than effective talent management. They need the extra spark that only genuine talent leadership can provide.

Management is Authoritarian – Leadership is Motivational

Proper talent management with all its “nuts and bolts” is indispensable for identifying and developing high-potential employees. When it comes to turning such employees into the leaders of the future, talent leadership needs to step in.

The motivational nature of talent leadership means that those currently mentoring future leaders can relate to their mentees on a professional as well as personal level. They can provide a reservoir of positive experiences trainees can experience vicariously, thus making it their own.

Through this positive reservoir of experiences, they can then effectively tackle the bane of effective leadership, learned helplessness.

Talent leadership also has a role in promoting leadership maturity and through it, resilience, and a problem-solving mindset.

Management Gives Directions – Leadership Asks Questions

Simply giving directions to your high-potential and emerging leaders and hoping that they blossom into executives capable of handling the demands of the future might work.

Talent leadership translates to the proactive approach of instilling positive change through bi-directional feedback, however. Talent leadership asks and answers questions, bringing about behavioral improvement, as well as continued growth and development.

Only through constant and specific feedback can the leaders of the future arm themselves with the skills and capabilities they will need to fill their future roles.

Bi-directional feedback is more than the willingness to provide guidance. It is also the ability to listen empathetically, to volunteer help, to take action, and to reward where warranted.

Management Reacts to Change – Leadership Creates Change

The true power of talent leadership resides in the ability to create change rather than to manage it. Talent leadership is about imagining better. It is about empowering people to unleash their talents.

Talent leadership creates change.

Effective leadership implements good ideas and instead of telling people what to do, it shows them how to accomplish goals. Talent leadership empowers high-potential employees to become the heroes they need to be to meet the demands of the future.

In a well-run organization, talent management and talent leadership coexist. One controls resources by exercising power over people. The other develops power with people.

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