I have always considered myself a movie buff as I find a lot of wisdom in between the lines of a script; particularly in movies for kids, there are a lot of powerful insights, if we are willing to keep our minds open. For example, there is a powerful scene in the Kung-Fu Panda movie between Master Shifu and Po, when Po says: “I'm never going to be like you,” to which Shifu replies: “I´m not trying to turn you into me, I´m trying to turn you into you”.

I truly feel that one of the highest satisfactions of a People Leader is to guide someone to be better every day from the moment you meet for the first time. In that sense, our teams will constantly feel their leader’s support by having an active role in helping them to achieve their own skill development and career growth. This guidance should not be intended to fulfill our own expectations as leaders, but rely on their career ambitions, interests, motivators, and their own definition of success.

The responsibility to ignite individual growth that fuels the business and maximizes potential lies in the leader’s hands. So, how can you become a successful leader? By becoming a Talent Catalyst. A catalyst, if you remember your chemistry classes, is a substance that accelerates a chemical reaction. Don’t you think that as People Leaders, we can accelerate the power of our people if we invest time in getting to know them?

Every person in our team is different and requires a different skill set and exposure to different challenges to become their best version. There are four elements that, if identified by People Leaders in each individual, will give them room to grow and develop by allowing them to show their passion for what they do. Let's explore these four elements to start your journey as a Talent Catalyst.

1. Know their personality.

Nowadays, there are a lot of personality type tests available to identify what are the primary emotions and associated behaviors of our team members; one of the most popular is the DISC assessment. Through it, you can identify if a profile is more Dominant, Influential, Steady or Compliant. The reality is that there's no one personality type better than the others, what is important is to know the personality style of each individual so you can support the person according to their needs, how to motivate them, and what watch out areas to avoid.

By knowing their personality, you can also optimize their abilities by giving them challenges according to their strengths, which can be beneficial for the rest of the team, too. For example, if you need to implement a new process in your area, you can assign the most influential personality to help you promote the changes and benefits of the new idea and you can be supported by the one who is more results-oriented to succeed in the execution.

2. Identify their drivers.

Drivers or motivators are those reasons which provide a reason to feel enthusiastic about doing something. The things that make us feel alive, that make our souls vibrate, those we feel the most passionate about, and most of the time, keep us smiling. Are you thinking about yours? Are you smiling?

“The responsibility to ignite individual growth that fuels the business and maximizes potential lies in the leader’s hands.”

Identifying the drivers or motivators of each individual will help you guide them in finding true value in their day-to-day, allowing them to enhance their efforts through tasks and responsibilities that easily contribute in their development ambitions. As a People Leader, you should constantly trigger moments within your team that allow you to know more about them, open spaces to talk about things beyond outstanding matters, and provide more opportunities to connect. How many times have you ever asked them, “how are you?” with the real purpose of deeply knowing how they are and not just to hear the usual “all good”.

3. Understand their way to learn and communicate.

Understanding the way in which each individual learns and communicates will help you to have more effective conversations where you can explain things in an easier and faster way.  We all process information in different ways, but I will briefly mention the three main styles: Visual, auditory and kinesthetic. For example, if you need to communicate with someone who is more visual, use visual objects such as graphs, charts, pictures, and any type of visually engaging assets. To connect with someone more auditory, remember they often prefer to be told how to do things and then summarize the main points out loud to help with memorization. Finally with someone kinesthetic, you may rather demonstrate how to do something rather than verbally explaining it and you must keep in mind that these individuals prefer to work in groups.

4. Sympathize with their moment in the organization.

The level of support that you should provide as a People Leader is directly related to the moment in the organization that each of your team members is going through. Sympathizing means that as a leader, you can understand how the way someone feels around a specific situation is driven by their moment in the organization, role, or task at hand. For example, if the individual is new in the business, the person could feel insecure and afraid to make decisions. The level of support from your side should be directed to provide punctual guidance while the individual becomes knowledgeable in the role, way of working, and company culture.

Different from an individual who is capable and knowledgeable in the current role (as is someone with more than one year of experience), your support as a leader should be more focused on providing confidence, delegating, and empowering the person to execute and make decisions. Being a Talent Catalyst requires you to invest time to connect with your team in a way that allows you to truly understand the person behind the professional. Foster a leadership style that encourages everyone to unlock their power to be the best they can be.