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How managers can keep their top talent

3 min read


Some managers are perceived as micromanagers, while others are so far removed from the day to day that they just administrate. So what’s right?

I don’t think the answer comes down to style, but to situation. How do you know when it is it time to dive in versus when is it time to delegate? I’ve spelled out five rules for managers that will make work work better in the age of entrepreneurship.

  • It is all about talent. Implement policies and practices that attract the best talent in the marketplace. Many practices that traditional companies have employed, such as a top-down culture and awards based on years of service no longer appeal to today’s top talent. Honestly assess where you rank in your industry as a talent magnet for the best of the best. There are many reasons why you might not be tops for appealing to talent (company strategy and market position, compensation philosophy, etc.). You should know where you are and design a strategy to get to where you aspire to be. Even in a company with challenges, the best talent often migrates to working for the best leaders. Look at what these people are doing to attract and retain them.
  • Be the employer of choice every day. Your best people are the ones who provide a disproportionate share of value to your company‹and are also the ones most likely to be sought after by competitors. What are you doing to be the best place for that top talent? Top talent wants to keep learning and be challenged so you must do everything to help these people remain engaged, help them achieve their career goals and become the CEO of their own destinies.
  • It’s about inspiration and motivation. Motivating individuals and teams to do their best is essential in today’s world. Get teams to continually reach new heights and raise their own expectations of what is possible. When properly encouraged, we find there is more in all of us to give.
  • Demand a meritocracy. If it’s all about talent, then you need to assemble the best team. If someone is dragging the team down and not doing their job, work with them (quickly) to get it fixed, and if not, address the performance issue fast, and make a change, but do so humanely. It is unfathomable that some of our worst performers get the best severance packages in order to avoid lawsuits, yet when the best talent leaves management gets upset at losing a key resource and is bitter about it. We need to continually work to get our teams to perform better both individually and collectively.
  • Provide mentoring and coaching for employees. Understand your employees’ goals and work to help them achieve them. Provide career development and mentoring outside of the performance review process. Consider allowing the employee to get confidential external mentoring.

Maynard Webb is a 30-year veteran of the technology industry who served as chief operations officer at eBay. He is founder of the Webb Investment Network, a seed investment firm dedicated to nurturing entrepreneurs; chairman and former CEO of LiveOps, a cloud-based call center with a community of 20,000 agents; and a board member at and Yahoo. His book “Rebooting Work: Transform How You Work In the Age of Entrepreneurship” was published in January. For more information, visit