Getting on the Talent Track

Interview with Dr. Lisa DeAngelis for the Women in STEM, Reimagined masterclass.


Have you ever been puzzled by why some people are on your company’s ominous talent list and you aren’t? You’re not alone. 

Talent management in companies is (if you don’t work in HR) a somewhat mysterious process. I asked Dr. Lisa DeAngelis about this in an interview and the first thing she said is to keep in mind that talent management in an organisation is only as good as the people evaluating the talent and their ability to see the talent.

Example: If you put a very creative person in a role that requires great attention to detail and with a manager who prefers precision and adherence to standards, no one’s going to be happy. That creative person will go from ‘rising star’ to ‘underperformer’ in a matter of weeks, just because someone’s a bad matchmaker.

That’s why it’s important for leaders to understand the skills and strengths of everyone in the organisation and align that with what needs to get done.

How do you do that?

As a manager, take a moment to think about how well you know the people in your area of responsibility. What are their strengths, passions, and aspirations? Do you talk about them with your peers to cascade that through the organisation? 

But it’s not just the manager’s responsibility, as Lisa points out:

“Everyone should own talent management, including the employee.”

And so as an employee, use self-reflection to get an objective view about yourself, your capabilities and what you truly like doing. Do you want to be on your way to become the next CEO or are you happy to be an individual contributor?

Ask yourself:

  • What am I really good at? 
  • What do I want to continue to be good at? 
  • What is it that I want to do long term?

The more specific you get, the better. Lisa recommends to dig up stories from all across your working life:

  1. Remember a time when you lost track of time. What were you doing? 
  2. When did you feel really excited and motivated at work? What were you doing, what was the environment like? 
  3. What were the bosses that didn’t get the best out of you? What was it about that situation that helped you thrive?

You can uncover those stories through journaling, talking to others or by taking a walk. With more information a picture starts to build for you. Find the themes that emerge from all of those concrete stories to uncover your underlying needs and wants.


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Dr. Lia DeAngelis is the Founder of Dragonfly Coaching LLC, Transformation & Leadership Coach, Doctor of Philosophy, and Director of the Center for Collaborative Leadership at University of Massachusetts Boston. Connect with Lisa on LinkedIn here.


Dr. Nicole Tschierske is a positive psychology coach who helps women in STEM get noticed in their company so they attract their next opportunity with total ease.

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