10 things that require zero talent…

10 Things

I have kept some version of this “10 things” poster in my office for many years. Overall, I feel that it represents qualities of a good employee and a strong leader. Each point seems simple enough and I sometimes re-read them to evaluate my own actions and behaviors as a personal check and balance.

I have questioned the validity of these statements in recent months though. If you consider the meaning of talent as having a natural aptitude then perhaps the statements are true. However, if you define talent as having learned a skill then the statements become questionable.

If you search the internet for ’10 things that require zero talent’, you will get hundreds of examples of people using it as a motivational tool. Sprinkled into the results you will also find the occasional counter-argument that these do actually require talent. I have reviewed dozens of posts and articles from both viewpoints as I want to get an idea of how others really feel about the subject.

My opinion

It is easy to finger-point and place fault. As leaders, we should hold others and ourselves accountable but we should also lead. Part of being a leader is teaching others, training them to be better, and mentoring them to become leaders as well. Identify areas of growth opportunity and make it a positive.

Some people may see this list and think these notions are easy to achieve. Whereas this may be true for certain people, we should consider that not everyone has been exposed to these concepts; Or not in a way that they relate to. Believe it or not, not everyone has been in a position of being held accountable to these skills or may not have had enough practice to have honed them. It is easy to take for granted that our experiences are not those of others.

I think the best way to view and use these “10 things” is to teach on them. Make a point to share them with your team. In fact, make it a learning opportunity. Offer explanations and examples of the positive impact of each and the result of lacking in them. Not as an in-your-face lesson, but rather as a list of strengths that we should work on to be better employees and teammates. Train your team to make the “10 Things” work for them.

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