How to manage technological talent: the most important characteristics in managers (but also in employees)
In good Portuguese, the popular expression – “having enough to spare” – characterizes the abundance of something. Combining it in the context of technological talent seems almost counterintuitive. Perhaps it would be more appropriate to say almost the opposite, which allows us to recognize the undoubted importance of two crucial vectors in the management of technological talent: capturing and monitoring.
In the world of the Consulting business, which I integrate and represent here, there is a strong competitiveness in attracting good technological resources, assumed in multiple approaches that other people will know and will be able to characterize much better than me. Therefore, I prefer, and because I am closer to the other perspective, to focus on discussing what I believe are some of the most relevant points to observe in an employee, not only in terms of recognizing their value, but also in managing their potential evolution, from a career perspective. The way I see it, technical capacity, responsibility, communication skills and team spirit, in no specific order, constitute the map of essential attributes.
Naturally, regarding the previous points, technical capacity assumes a high preponderance, since if “omelets are not made without eggs”, it is also not possible to think about a technological career without technical capacity. But, knowing that there are innate competences, such as logical reasoning or analytical thinking skills, and others acquired, it is in this second point that we have the greatest scope of action while being responsible for teams and their careers. I emphasize, of course, the vast experience that we can pass on to them, but also the fact that technologies and tools are learned, and it is always possible to identify which best serve the needs and motivations of each one, and thereby define a positive training plan, appropriate, and that mobilizes people’s enthusiasm.
Subsequently, I also highlight the responsibility incurred in daily work, because we can only do something of real value when we apply ourselves seriously and professionally. But, again, this being a factor that reveals individual maturity, it is still variable depending on the age, experience and even personality of each one, and it is also a point where senior monitoring is crucial to help shape people to a profile of greater competence.
As team managers, we must be a little bit of everything, and understand the individual peculiarities. I remember examples from those who needed to be challenged to reach their potential, to those who lack a regular word of trust and appreciation, to those who evolved due to the required accountability … All of them distinct, all success stories, based on a differentiated approach, assertive demand and in leadership by example.
In the chapter of soft skills, whose importance I believe is associated not so much with the content of the work but with the way it is carried out, I highlighted communication and team spirit because with the full agenda that affects us all, it is crucial that we make good use of the time that we have. To that end, it is necessary for teams to exchange information efficiently and assertively, and for mutual assistance to be promoted as a key ingredient for success, which I often observe to be associated with the individual’s capacity for abstraction in favor of the so-called “big picture”. In this sense, it is the role of the team manager to establish dialogue, question people, challenge them to think from a different perspective and embrace a different posture, focused on the team and common goals.
In conclusion, it is clear that the topics that I presented and discussed in this article are not exact science, and they describe much of my own experience, and the dynamics of work that I have been creating together with the different people that I have had the privilege to manage. Still, I think it is a pertinent reflection, because I increasingly feel that, in this context, the difference between success and its opposite is due to small details, so there is nothing that I recommend more than being very attentive, observant, and concerned with ensuring not only our path, but also that of those around us and helping us get where we want as a team. That way, we may never be able to say that we have talent “to give and sell”, but perhaps we can always have enough to do what really competes with us: “enough to spare” quality to our customers.
By André Monteiro, team manager at askblue