We read every week that one of HR’s key challenges is talent management. But, in my view, we’ll never manage our talent properly until we change this British attitude to success.
We just don’t seem to be capable of celebrating achievement. If our best tennis player comes second at Wimbledon, where he’s competing against the whole world, we all say: ‘Uh-oh, Henman loses again’, instead of celebrating the fact that, against enormous odds, he made it to the final. No doubt Andrew Murray will inherit that dubious honour when Henman hangs up his racquet for good.
Some of us are old enough to remember when Ian Botham was playing cricket for England instead of sitting in the commentary box.
He was the best all-rounder we’d had for years, and the backbone of the team, but did we celebrate? Did we heck. We just moaned about the fact that he wouldn’t deny using marijuana. Who said he had to be a plaster saint just because he happened to be good at cricket?
George Best may have been a magical footballer, but he was human, with human frailties, for which we would not forgive him until he died.
That kind of thinking is what gave rise to the way that celebrities – spurious or talented – are trampled by the media nowadays.
So isn’t it about time that managers started patting employees on the back a bit more, and giving recognition for a job well done? In my experience, praise is one of the key ways to motivate staff, and transform an underdog into a winner.
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