Sunday, Jun 7, 2020
HomePeople, Passion and ProfitAre you a talent killer leader?

Are you a talent killer leader?

As a human resources professional, I get to see the good, bad, and the ugly of the employee experience. We are the ones that woo talent into the organization and make sure their transition is welcoming and pleasant. We are the ones that offer opportunities for growth and development throughout their tenure. Then we are the ones that monitor those times when employees are disciplined or separated from the company.

It is interesting to observe management styles in all cases. I’ve found managers to fall in one of these categories:

  1. Talent hunter

This is the type of leader that knows good talent when he or she sees it and will go after it to obtain it at any cost. It seems that the thrill is in the chase and closing the deal because they leave their super stars undeveloped and untended, like an overgrown garden, left to their own devices to navigate the environment they were unceremoniously dumped in.


  1. Talent killer

The Talent Killer is one who destroys the spirit of the employee by being a broken, toxic leader. This type of leader can be a bully, a narcissist, petty, vindictive, jealous, hateful, mean, oppressive, and suppressive. This leader does not want to see certain people get ahead. They are afraid of real talent, even though they know they need them to benefit their operation. Knowing that they need them is a trigger point that is the catalyst for their unexplainable wrath. So as a result, they promote people who will worship and obey them, and usually incompetent; incompetence lends to dependence. Pretty toxic.

  1. Talent builder

A Talent Builder boss is the ideal manager and leader. This person can not only seek great talent but they are prepared to and willing to groom them and create opportunities for them to fly. They give constructive feedback and take time to listen and give guidance. They challenge them to do more than they think they are capable of and don’t mind taking a back seat for their protégé to shine. Further, they understand when the environment can no longer contain the person the protégé has become and will let them go – either to another position in the company or to another company – without bitterness or spite but with goodwill.

In my experience, the most challenging leaders are the ones that resist training opportunities. They hide behind extreme busyness or ‘I have arrived’ mentality that further compounds the problems they experience in their department. Problems that everyone can see except them. There is no shame in continuous improvement. Don’t we pursue it for the business? Why not for ourselves? Are you relevant? What are your internal customers saying about you? Are you listening to their feedback? Are you making the changes necessary to stay in the game?

Talent Builders are everybody’s dream; unfortunately, we may run through a Talent Hunter and a Talent Killer before we get to one. Make sure you are the leader that everyone wants to genuinely work with.


  • Simmone L. Bowe, MSc, SPHRi, is a seasoned human resource and organization development consultant & trainer, speaker, author, mentor, and activist who focuses on helping business owners, leaders and professionals diagnose their people and performance problems and implement strategic solutions. For comments, queries and bookings, email


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