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5 Traits of Great Talent Spotters


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Virtually every client we serve tells us they value teamwork. Some want to improve their already high-performing teams. Others want to sharpen their focus on how teams can work together for success. Others have challenges on existing teams and are looking for trouble-shooting. And many want coaching on what it takes to pick people who will be part of winning teams.

Over the years and through serving thousands of clients, we’ve developed five best practices for “people-picking”. You can read even more in The Leadership Triangle, by TAG partners Kevin Graham Ford and Ken Tucker, available here.

If you want to become a great people-picker who picks great people (say that five times fast!), you will want to work on developing these skills:

Great People-Pickers Are Success-Intuitive 

If you are a great selector of people you can look at a potential team member and see what makes them tick. You see their passion, understand how their past has shaped them, have a sense of their dreams, and can visualize their future success.

Great People-Pickers Are Placement-Aware

The best selectors of people see exactly where and on which team a person can fit. They look at a potential team member and know the right seat on the bus for that person, the perfect role that will tee them and the team up for success.

Great People-Pickers Are Future-Oriented

As a good leader, you will see the future of your organization as well as your own future. A great people-picker sees the future of each team member. You can visualize not only their success and the success of the organization, but also the success of each individual.

Great People-Pickers Are Unselfishly Opportunistic

The late Don Clifton, a legendary leader and consultant who excelled at team selection, asked a great question which we use all the time:

“How can I help this person discover just how good, just how successful he or she can become?”

That’s a profound question which has great power for your life of leadership. If you are a leader who works to provide opportunities for individuals on your team to use their natural talents and traits the end result will be success for your team and for you as the leader of that team.

Great People-Pickers Are Time Conscious

In a sense, time is everything. Often, in the crucible of leadership, many things happen all at once. To be a leader is to deal with moving parts and contingencies on a daily basis. Sometimes, the door to success is just cracked open for a moment. Part of the art of leadership is seizing every moment for its full potential.

Great people-pickers are deeply aware of timing and have one eye on the clock and one eye on their teams.

Which of those five traits of world-class people-pickers do you possess? Which do you need to sharpen? What’s your strategy?