Why Talented Employees Fail to Reach Their Full Potentials

There have to be some reasons why employees start their first months on the job with loads of motivation and eagerness to impress, but then the enthusiasms seem to wane away to almost nothing before a full year. Personal circumstances would make good guess because people naturally have their own problems. Things get more complicated if employees fail to reach their full potentials due to the following organizational issues.

 ·         Contradictory Values

 Employees can perform well for an organization in which the rules and cultures are aligned with their personal values. The same employees will almost certainly perform much worse if they work in the same positions but for a different organization with contradictory values.

 Even when organizations can evaluate every candidate properly through objective measures, they have strong tendency to overrate their own cultures. Any organization will say that it has innovative, diverse, performance-oriented, inclusive, and prosocial cultures; it encourages strong work ethics, accountability, and employee development. While some of those can be true, there is a good chance that a lot of the stated values are nothing more than wishful thinking instead of accurate self-assessment. An abrupt change in culture is as disruptive as it can be, but often necessary to optimize resources including employees.

 ·         Employee Disengagement


An expected side effect of poor alignment between employees’ values and organizational culture is disengagement, although it is not the only reason behind the lack of motivation. There is another culprit; one that is more obvious yet rarely pointed-out by employees: poor leadership.

 A leader needs to understand that poor performance sometimes is not solely because of employees’ incompetence but the result of poor dynamics of interpersonal relationships either among themselves or between employees and leader; it can even be both in an organization without a capable leader to resolve conflicts. Motivation is an excellent remedy and thankfully it comes in a multitude of forms. Enforcing good communication practices and developing conflict-resolution plans may not sound like motivations, but they are few among many effective methods to prevent disengagement and promote optimum performance. Just like the organization itself in general, a leader is required to perform objective self-assessment. Good leadership skills create a work environment conducive for optimum performance.

 ·         Organizational Politics


It is true that modern organizations are armed with more reliable data-driven methodology in talent management practices than in previous years, but room for improvements are still all over the place especially in relation to the basic extent of organizational politic. A person’s political savvy is (and has always been) a factor to advance careers, but unfortunately it is a factor that can stand on its own and overshadow technical skills and talents. The nepotistic side of organizational life will continue to exist; it is both toxic and persistent.

 In an organization with heavily-political culture, talents rarely speak for themselves. It does not matter how talented some employees are, they can never reach their full potential unless they partake in the political side of their career. Once they do, the actual talents useful for the progress of the organization are often underutilized in favor of politics. Put in mind that all organizations are essentially political, but some are far less contaminated than others.

 ·         Unsupportive Work Policies

 An organization will always expect that employees have no personal issues, or at least they don’t take personal disputes, difficulties with families, or any financial hardship to workplace; it is another fine example of wishful thinking. Employees have personal and private life, which can at times interfere with work performance. Good leader and organization consider the issue a “probability” rather than “possibility.”

 Supportive work policies put leaders in a position to understand employees’ circumstances and offer help in their professional capacity. This is not to say that the organization takes care of all employees’ problems, but it must provide supports so that employees can focus on delivering good performance and reach their full potentials at workplace instead of being consumed by other concerns. At the end of the day, both sides get the benefits of supportive employment policies.

 Every organization is only a strong as leaders allow their employees to be. When employees are failing to meet expectations, that is an opportunity to build a relationship, understand needs, coach and support an employee to success. Every employee was hired because they were the best qualified. A great leader must constantly find ways to help employees be there very best. Failing to do so, could cause an employee to lose interest and dedication, then start looking for an organization that could better support their potential, desires, and needs.

Make good choices and have a great day! Only you get to choose how you feel about it!

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Dr. Paul Gerhardt is a skilled leadership and diversity trainer who builds customized workshops online or at your workplace. He is a tenured professor of management. He is a diversity and leadership well-respected and trusted trainer who helps organizations get amazing returns on their training investment. Visit www.SupervisionEssentials.com for more great free articles and to learn more about leadership effectiveness. Dr. Gerhardt is the author of several publications available on Amazon.com, including Diversity at Work, The Diversity King; Leadership Lucy and the Leadership Handbook. Consider inviting Dr. Paul Gerhardt to do customized leadership or diversity training at your organization. Most organizations find that diversity and leadership training by the right trainer yields a significant instant return on investment. You can get your FREE COPY of the Leadership Handbook by clicking this link: http://bit.ly/LeadershipHandbook

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Some say he’s half man half fish, others say he’s more of a seventy/thirty split. Either way he’s a fishy bastard.