Talent Management

Mar 07, 2022 9 min read

Talent Leadership: Perhaps the new Talent Management

Author is a qualified Chartered Accountant, working with Indian Oil corporation Ltd for more than 11 years. Her primary area of Expertise is Finance & Accounting.


Intrusion of COVID-19 has marked the beginning of a new Era. It certainly challenged the status quo and long-term vision of the organisations in the entire world together. It exerted a heavy thrust upon organizational virtues like digitalization, preparedness for unforeseen situations, protection of physical and mental health of employees, flexibility in organizational infrastructure & facilities etc. In such a situation, it would not be incorrect to say that employees are the central hub of an organisation. Giant organisations including Indian Oil Corporation Limited could survive the blow because of proactive decision making in various areas and more importantly Human Resources. With COVID-19 receding, life is getting back to normal but revamping modus operandi of human assets is the need of hour. Consequently, development of human assets to take leadership roles in their own periphery is inevitable.

Talent Management Essentials

Management is a wide term and has been defined by many experts over centuries. Some of the notable definitions of management are as follows:

"Management is a multi-purpose organ that manages business and manages managers and manages workers and work." - Peter Ferdinand Drucker

“Management is a distinct process consisting of activities planning, organising, actuating and controlling performance to determine and accomplish objectives by use of people and other resources.” - George R. Terry

“Management is an art of knowing what you want to do and seeing that it is done in the best possible manner.” - F. W. Taylor

The basic essence of all the definitions of management is to get the work done in a pre-determined way using the tools of management to achieve pre-determined objectives.

Once organisational goals and anticipated business value have been defined, next task for an organization is to put in place an effective and strategic human resource planning to achieve those goals. This is what less precisely known as “Talent Management”. Talent Management is a vague term and experts have varying point of views regarding the functions involved in talent management. Collectively and broadly speaking, Talent Management may include functions such as talent attraction; talent acquisition; performance management; talent retention and talent development. No matter what the definition of talent management is, it must include attributes which are imperative in achievement of organisational goals and anticipated business value. Talent management functions must work to manoeuvre functions of human capital to achieve organisational goals.

Forward Leadership Planning – A desired mandate

Peter F. Drucker, also known as father of modern management, mentioned in his notable contribution – “Management by Objectives” – that employees must be involved in determining objectives. This exerts inclination towards development of leadership qualities and decision making abilities in employees.

As per the study conducted by global consulting firm DDI, organizations having strong leadership talent outperform their competitors by:

• Acting more decisively

• Navigating through complexity with greater efficiency

• Anticipating and reacting to business challenges with ease

It is said that we don’t nurture plants, rather plants nurture us. Also nurturing a plant is not a business of a day or two. It takes years to reap the fruits. In today’s volatile world where happenings of even next moment are unpredictable, the organisational vision must not just include creating the manpower to pluck the fruits but to incite a sense within the human resource to consider planting the trees. Such sense of belonging, willingness to promote sustainable development and motivation to assume the lead role is synonymously know as leadership.

Research shows that 80 percent of organizations consider leadership a high priority, but just 41 percent are ready to meet the demands of finding and developing leadership talent.

Hence, the organisations must work in the direction of leading the human assets and not just managing them. A leadership in true sense will develop future leaders and inculcate a feeling of belongingness within Human Assets which in turn will prepare them for future. In other words, creating a pool of Human resources who not only manage the existing functions but also strive to become leaders in true sense is what a future-proof organisation will contemplate.

Management vs. Leadership

Before moving on the path of creating leaders, understanding the difference between Management and Leadership is vital.

It has been rightly said that “Managers have subordinates — leaders have followers.” – Murray.

Leadership is lifting a person's vision to high sights, the raising of a person's performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations. —Peter Drucker

There is some overlap in the functions of Managers and Leaders but essentially both are remarkably different wherein Leadership assimilates a vision towards change. The key differences between both can be understood with following:

  • Process Vs. Vision: Role of a Manager is to achieve organizational goals by implementing process such as budgeting, organizational structuring and staffing. Leader is motivated by forward thinking and driving change. Leadership is about developing the appropriate and desirable goals

  • Organizing Vs. Aligning: In the book, On Becoming a Leader, scholar Warren Bennis presents a list of key differences between managers and leaders, including:

  • The manager administers; the leader innovates

  • The manager maintains; the leader develops

  • The manager focuses on systems and structure; the leader focuses on people

Managers are focused organizing human resources through coordinated actions and tactical processes, leaders on the other hand are less focused on organizing people and getting the work done and more focused on aligning and influencing them.

  • Position Vs. Quality: Manager is title and it often denotes a specific role within an organization. Manager has a set of responsibilities. Leadership is a result of actions that inspire, encourage and engage others. It is largely a quality which is shaped gradually by generating self-awareness and motivation to influence.

Sine-Qua-Non” of Leadership

Leadership is not measured by how-much and how-many tasks have been accomplished, rather it is measured by how-much and how-many people have been influenced. Leadership is reflected when people around a leader thrive. The concept of Leadership is an amalgamation of several virtues which collectively are responsible for effective Leadership.

Emotional Intelligence:

The term was popularized by Psychologist Daniel Goleman. Goleman defined EI as the array of skills and characteristics that drive leadership performance. Emotional Intelligence (EI) is mostly defined as ability to perceive, use, understand, manage and handle emotions. It involves recognizing emotion of self and others and using emotional information to guide thinking and behaviour. It involves adjusting emotions to adapt to environment. Research shows that 90 percent of top performers are high in emotional intelligence. By building your EQ, you can bring out the best in others and cultivate successful teams. Five emotional intelligence skills are as follows:

Employee Engagement:

According to findings by analytics and advisory company Gallup, highly engaged employees tend to:

• Produce substantially better outcomes at work

• Deliver higher-quality service to customers and help attract new ones

• Remain with their organization longer than less-engaged colleagues

• Experience less burnout in their roles

Employee engagement can be achieved in many ways, few of which are enlisted below:

  • Feedback: Collecting constructive feedback based on observations

  • Recognition: Showing recognition for achievements and accomplishments of employees by way to tangible and intangible rewards would facilitate better employee engagement.

  • Transparent Communication: Fostering transparent communication is foundational in developing strong team dynamics and collaboration. Transparent communication shoves a range of negative outcomes such as delay or failure to complete projects, low morale, missed performance goals etc.

  • Delegation: Delegating important tasks and projects and thereby demonstrating trust over employees and empowering them.

  • Respect: Being respectful towards employees. According to a report by The Energy Project and the Harvard Business Review, respect has a bigger impact on employees’ sense of safety, trust, and ability to focus than any other leadership behaviour.

  • Learning & Development: Supporting Learning & development bolster skills and knowledge through professional development and learning opportunities and can pay dividends for both team and company.


Negotiation is an interaction and process between entities who aspire to agree on matters of mutual interest, while optimizing their individual utilities. Appropriate negotiation skills are desirable in a good Leader. This can be achieved by keeping an open mind, being reasonably transparent during the negotiation, setting and stretching the goals as per need and tolerable limits, turning anxiety into excitement and projecting power and confidence by displaying appropriate body language. Taking a time out or brake and sometimes being silent can pay-off loads.

Decision Making:

Strong decision making is instrumental to business success. However, a recent survey by management consulting firm McKinsey shows that just 20 percent of professionals believe their organizations excel at it. According to Professor Leonard Schlesinger, Harvard Business School decision making should be viewed as a process rather than a single event. Following 8-step decision making process can be employed for effective leadership:

Organisational Change Management:

Organizational change refers to when a company or business alters a significant component of its organization, such as its culture, the underlying technologies or infrastructure it uses to operate, or its internal processes. Managing such change by leveraging that change to bring about a successful resolution is truly called for, and it typically includes three major phases: Preparation, implementation, and follow-through. Change management can be achieved by understanding the process of change, understanding forces of change, creating a plan, communicating the path to be followed and Preparing for roadblocks.


Becoming an effective leader doesn’t happen overnight. By broadening understanding of what leadership and management entail, developing a personal leadership style, and honing skills, one can equip the team for success. Many tools may be employed in the entire journey of leadership such as identifying the existing leadership style by building self-awareness, considering the core function, understanding the motivations, assessing existing professional level, setting goals, engaging in developmental activities etc.


  1. A profile of Peter F. Drucker – Father of Modern Management – Toronto School of Management



     2. Definition of Management



    3. How to Become a more effective Leader, E-book, Harvard Business School



  1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_intelligence#cite_note-hbr98-3

  2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empathy

  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_skills




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