One Degree of Change: The Impact of a Talent Management Leader’s Mindset on Organizational Success

Quote: It only takes slight shift to alter the course of your life - Jeff Olsen

Over the past several years talent management leaders have had a strategic seat at the table when tackling some of the corporate world’s most complex challenges such as COVID-19, social unrest, the war on talent, the back-to-work conundrum, and more. HR and talent management (TM) leaders are at the center of all these changes. To lead the organization and help navigate through tumultuous waters, the mindset of the talent management leader is key. 

But does mindset really matter? Consider, for example, that when Microsoft’s CEO, Satya Nadella, came into leadership, drastically shifting the mindset of his leaders was his primary focus. This was not just a leadership development initiative, but an effort to transform their “thinking”. As a result, the company’s stock price tripled. Interested in learning more? Here are six mindset traits of a successful talent management leader.

6 Mindset Traits of a Successful Talent Management Leader 

1.     Holistic View

The best talent management leaders understand their impact on the entire employee experience; from attracting, onboarding, developing, and promoting talent to offboarding talent and protecting the employer brand. They have a deep understanding the interconnections off all these components and their impact on the culture, strategy, and growth of the organization. Business-aligned talent is known to have a positive impact the bottom line and productivity. The best talent managers are successful in connecting the dots and aligning the company’s people strategy with its organizational strategy and are effective at clearly communicating these connections throughout all levels of the organization. 

2.     Positively Balanced

According to the National Science Foundation, the average person processes about 60,000 -80,000 thoughts per day, with 80% of those being negative. In the day and life of a talent management leader, one can imagine the pressures associated with doing more with less, retaining top talent, upskilling, burn out, and the list goes on. Under such pressures the average leader might choose consciously – or unconsciously – to operate from a myriad of negative emotions (fear, anxiety, blame, guilt, or anger). How does a talent management leader maintain a healthy and balanced mindset? The best talent managers have an uncanny ability to realize the positive in almost any situation. When a challenge arises, they get clear on the problem they’re solving for and are honest about it. They hit “pause” before reacting in the moment. When the situation seems threatening, they think through what might be getting in the way of them making the right decision. They consciously choose to shift their thinking and come from a positive place of courage, optimism, love, compassion, and empathy. 

3.     Confident Humility

Humility is one of the strongest attributes any person can possess. In Latin “humilis” is translated as “grounded”. The best TM leaders show up as confident and humble enough to sincerely serve others while also learning from them. They are confident enough to advise the c-suite and humble enough to receive feedback from those at deeper levels within the organization. How do they do this? No matter how accomplished they are, the never view themselves as better than any other person regardless of rank or position. Humble people understand that they don’t always have to know the answer or appear to have it all together. They are comfortable with vulnerability and understand that kindness is a strength. They relinquish unnecessary control, accept advice from others, and roll with the punches of work and life. 

4.     Resourceful

Great TM leaders understand that they don’t have to do it all. They are great at harnessing resources and rallying others to support initiatives. They develop communities of resources and support in and outside of their organizations. When asked to do more with less, they are able to shift quickly, considering ‘what’s possible?’ By focusing on what is possible, they gain access to new and innovative solutions and can tackle problems on a whole different level to achieve extraordinary results. Lastly, great talent management leaders know their greatest resource is their team and extended teams.  

5.     Limitless Learning

Great talent leaders are lovers of learning. They welcome feedback, are able to effectively problem solve and drive to address root causes, and consistently seek out sustainable solutions. They have a thirst to learn about their organization and the people in it at all levels.  They know that learning opportunities can come at any time; they seize these opportunities to increase their understanding and drive impact. 

6.     Connection

Great talent management leaders understand the beauty and art of building strong and lasting relationships across and up and down their organizations as well as with their families and community. They are energized by connecting with others and getting others connected. They are sought after advisors and eagerly seek out accountability partners, coaches, and mentors to support their own development and growth. The best have a heightened self-awareness of strengths and development opportunities and are clear connected to their “why” both in their work and personal lives. 

It All Comes Down to One Degree of Change

With the forces of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity compounding at an ever-accelerating rate, it is important for TM and all leaders to help ensure the health and growth of their organizations. Consider the “one degree of change” concept. It only takes a one-degree change in temperature to convert water to steam or water to ice. What if you took on one of the six traits, and each day made tiny shifts in how you’ve been thinking? It all starts, and ends, with your mindset. 

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