“An exceptional person has arrived on my team. What do I do next?”
Talented people are few and far between. You have been blessed.
The first thing to know is that treating them well is not going to be enough. Talented people aren’t into coming to work, doing a job, going home and collecting a regular pay check on a repeat cycle. They don’t like doing the same thing each day and your company’s career development program for high potentials won’t make up for this.
Talented people are talented because they’ve stretched themselves, they’ve dedicated much of their time to learning and challenging themselves in greater and greater ways. This is not a one-off process. Your team and role is another step in this process for them. The best thing you can do is to help them continue this process and be part of it.
How do you do that? Stretch them with ideas that will move your group forward. Ideally let them come up with their own ideas and take maximum ownership. Much of the time a talented team member will get frustrated with the way things work. They aren’t complainers, that’s a different thing. They’ll come to you with ideas or suggest areas for improvement on existing processes. This isn’t to say let any idea go ahead, but equally don’t destroy your talent by being a roadblock.
But what about the regular day job? It easy to become engaged in new shiny projects and let the regular job slip. The answer here is to have KPIs, goals, measures or some form of expectations for the regular job. Talented people can self-manage given measures or expectations they own. And if they don’t, measures will help you re-align your team member.
A talented person won’t be with you forever, but you can help them in their journey and their legacy will leave a lasting influence.