A simple strategy for managing talented people

by. Panos Mourdoukoutas

Managing talented people is a challenging task. For two reasons. First, talented people are skeptical about management’s contribution to the organization. Second, managerial controls may distract rather than help talented people do what they do best — innovate.

But there’s a simple strategy for managing talented people — convince them that, beyond offering promotions, management is there to help them advance their careers in other ways. That’s the finding of a Google study published last year in the Harvard Business Review. As one Google manager put it: “Engineers hate being micromanaged on the technical side, but they love being closely managed on the career side.”

Simply put, managers should be career coaches rather than day-to-day work supervisors.

In theory, this strategy is a straightforward proposition. But in practice things aren’t that easy. There’s two reasons for this.

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