The data collected through the deployment of the Talent Chaser software solution shows that great innovators can bring to the table skills and knowledge that can help an organization introduce innovative management processes. It also turns out that as organizations improve “bottom-line” performance, their capacity to provide work environments that are more motivating for employees increases. Properly managed, innovators can contribute significantly towards improved staff retention programs.
Studies of performance appraisal data collected through Talent Chaser have shown that innovative people are frequently poor listeners and that, as a consequence, they have to be managed carefully if their talents are to be properly utilized. The link between an employee’s style of thinking and their motivational priorities is that Extrinsic Thinkers like to listen, Intrinsic Thinkers like to innovate.
I discovered this link through the deployment of the performance profile questionnaire, an evidence-based alternative to the personality test, which includes measurements of motivational factors.
For the most part, innovators talk to other people about problems they are trying to solve under circumstances where they have usually already decided what to do.
While not obvious to colleagues and associates, they are more inclined to be thinking about what they are going to say next as opposed to listening effectively to what other people are saying.
This trait, which is common to most Intrinsic Thinkers, can have a severe and adverse impact on both the quality of solutions they put forward and on their capacity to build effective interdependent relationships with colleagues. The Talent Chaser data reveals a significant link between this failure to listen effectively and high employee turnover rates. Improving an employee retention program is not just a matter of implementing a change of recruiting solution; it also requires significant changes to the way in which talent is managed.
In customer service roles, for example, the real potential of innovative employees to help customers calling in for product support is frequently impeded because of a tendency to rush to solution before listening carefully to the customer. It turns out that Intrinsic Thinkers generally achieve high performance ratings in roles where an innovative approach to customer support is required. When Intrinsic Thinkers are placed in roles not requiring innovation but where the emphasis is on the consistent application of guiding rules, they achieve lower ratings and are more difficult to retain long term in this role.
In managerial roles, one of the most frequently voiced causes of demotivation arises from an inability to listen and therefore communicate effectively with direct reports.
According to CEB’s Quarterly Global Labor Market research, the top five things employees look for when seeking a new job are:
- Health Benefits
- Work-Life Balance
When innovators fail to listen properly to other people, their behavior is frequently taken as a lack of respect. The simple fact is that we all like to think we’re being listened to and that what we have to say is useful and worthy of the attention of others. Regular Performance Appraisal provides a great opportunity for managers to identify situations where an Intrinsic Thinker’s failure to listen has led to problems.
The following performance evaluation examples help innovators to improve performance ratings as regards the proper use of their listening skills:
- Use real-life situations to confront innovators with the consequences of their actions.
- Require innovators to ask other colleagues their opinions even when they are certain they have the answer to a problem.
- Monitor, categorize, and discuss the reasons direct reports give when they terminate their employment.
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