Too often leaders put up with a great talent who’s shitty to other employees. The belief is that because the employee is so talented we should be willing to put up with how they treat others. It happens all the time in organizations! All. The. Time.
Ichiro Suzuki is a very successful Major League Baseball player for the Seattle Mariners who just hit his 3,000 hit in the major leagues, that just adds to his thousand plus hits he had in the Japanese professional baseball league. All those hits make him arguably the greatest hitter of all time at the professional level of baseball.
ESPN did an article about Ichiro recently as he was coming very close to the 3,000 hit milestone in the MLB, a very rare feat. What most people don’t know is Ichiro almost left the MLB after only one season because his teammates treated him so badly:
“Suzuki explained later that in the middle of his career with the Mariners, when the team wasn’t playing well but he was an All-Star and Gold Glove winner, his teammates called him selfish and said that he cared only about individual accolades. After Griffey, Sweeney and Ibanez arrived, he says, they stood up for him and encouraged their teammates to worry about their own play first.”
It wasn’t until Seattle brought in other MLB All-Stars that Ichiro felt welcomed. Great talent, supports great talent. Okay, everyone on an MLB roster is talented, but even within those rosters, there are levels of talent. Ichiro is a hall of fame talent. Griffey is a hall of famer.
The point to all of this is your best talent should support the other best talent of your organization. If you have great talent that isn’t supporting each other, you need to make a move. Great talent is talented if they don’t support the other talent in the organization. That might be the single most difficult thing for leaders to understand.
Your talent is wasted if you can’t find ways to lift up the other talent around you. Seattle was able to find talent that was willing to do that and Ichiro turned his talent into one of the greatest of all time, but he was also very close to just packing it in and going home.
I wonder how much talent walks out your door based on how they are being treated by others in your organization?