Pre or Post Emergent Talent Development

Most people don’t think like I do.  I enjoy mowing the lawn so that means I put some effort into growing grass that I can mow.  We have lived in the same residence for about 20 years and I can look over the yard and feel a sense of pride in knowing that most every items that is growing was something I planted at one time or another.  Grass, shrubs, trees, flowers; you name it, I have planted it and then cultivated most of them to long lives.

If you grow grass and flowers you are also aware that weeds always get involved in the process.  No matter how hard you try, there will always be a weed poking his head in the middle of a great patch of grass or a beautiful bed of flowers.

Weeds should know better, but they are sort of like habits we develop through practice.  This is where the concept of pre or post emergent comes into this conversation.

When dealing with yard issues many of us use either a pre or post emergent herbicide to remove the weeds.  The pre emergent hopefully prevents the nasty weeds from making their entry while the post emergent gets rid of the weed after they have show their ugly faces.  Talent issues also provide opportunities for pre and post emergent skill development.  I think post emergent is the easiest to consider with the following example:

You attend a meeting at work and one of your colleagues explodes and dumps on all of the attendees.  You meet with this colleague after the meeting to give him feedback about what he did and how he might have dealt with the situation differently.

The situation described above is a very common post-emergent talent opportunity (commonly called feedback) where one person discusses a situation with another to help them improve.  We all see this.

How can we utilize pre-emergent talent development into the workforce?  Let’s look at this example:

Three younger staff members were in the meeting described above.  You meet with them after the meeting and ask them their impressions of what happened.  This discussion can be the segue for an opportunity for them to see a similar situation, not in their “yard” and learn from it so that these issues don’t “sprout up” when they have a similar issue arise.

That is pre-emergent talent development.  Classroom learning with role play or frequent discussions with groups to discuss issues can help leaders at all levels understand how to “weed out” the less desirable traits they may have and to cultivate better practices in dealing with others.

Cultivating better leaders takes time and preparation.  I’ll talk more on leadership cultivation more in my next post.