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I first became aware of good leadership qualities from sport. And in my experience, there are some leadership traits that are more widely accepted in sport than in working environments. But can they still be effective in business teams?


A lot of companies and graduate recruiters advertise for ‘young talent’. Other than being ambiguous about what they’re looking for, talent alone isn’t particularly valuable. Finding a ‘talented’ person who can naturally complete the tasks required with minimal effort, wouldn’t be as beneficial as recruiting someone who is not necessarily talented but has the right attitude for the role. Finding just one suitable candidate, especially at entry level, can be a bit of a guessing game which is why I'm developing Hiremetrix. Because the right attitude often results in employees proactively learning and mastering the skills they need as they progress in their career. Talent doesn't take that initiative, the right attitude does.

"Natural talent or a high IQ cannot explain future achievement" (Robert Greene, Mastery)

What is ‘Talent’?

Talent is the natural ability you have. It’s not learned. Attitude is to do with the way you think and therefore affects your behaviour, how you approach challenges, decision making, initiative etc.

Why do we focus on ‘talent’?

There’s a general fascination with people who consistently outperform everyone else. Whether it’s watching Roger Federer winning another grand Slam or Usain Bolt setting another world record. These people undoubtably have a lot of talent, but then again, so does every Olympian. It’s easy to focus on vague adjectives like ‘talented’, 'gifted' or ‘intelligent’ when we’re not sure how someone has managed to achieve what they have. Putting someone’s success down to talent is a bit like saying ‘it was magic’. Most of us don’t see what’s gone on behind the scenes which can be overlooked when you're only exposed to the success.

"Ability or talent is the most useless virtue to possess" (Sports commentator, Harsha Bhoogle)

The Research

The 6 competencies we measure at Hiremetrix are sub-facets of measurable behavioural traits such as ‘conscientiousness’ made famous by the ‘Big 5’ psychometric test. Our experience is summed up best by a study led by Dr. Kevin Hoff at the University of Houston. His research team followed two groups of youth for 12 years and found that trait ‘conscientiousness’ and stability were the biggest predictors of career satisfaction and success. Their findings also showed that these personality traits are malleable over time and supports neuroscience that the brain changes and adapts through experience.

"Natural talent or a high IQ cannot explain future achievement" (Robert Greene, Mastery)

The top salespeople, the programmers that build great companies, the superstar marketers and inspirational leaders are undoubtedly talented, but their attitude is probably responsible for a lot more of their success. I think this is worth considering especially when recruiting entry level, school, college and university graduates who don’t have a track record to demonstrate their ability.

Written By Michael - Founder at Hiremetrix