February 10, 2021

Positive Links Speaker Series

“The Trouble with “Talent”: Why Describing Ability as “Talent” may Undermine Grit in the Workplace”

Angela Duckworth
Rosa Lee and Egbert Chang Professor, University of Pennsylvania
CEO, Character Lab
Daniel Southwick
Doctoral Student
University of Pennsylvania

February 8, 2021

About the talk

In the last twenty years, the phrase “talent management” has increased dramatically in organizations and management literature. Despite its prevalence, little research has looked at potential consequences of referring to employees and their abilities as “talent.”

In this conversation with Angela Duckworth and Daniel Southwick, hosted by Kim Cameron, discussed how organizational language can impact employee grit. They shared their recent research showing that describing ability as a talent (as opposed to a skill) is linked to pessimistic attitudes about improvement and persistence and may lead human resource managers to invest fewer resources in employee development. In this session participants learned what leaders can say and do to unleash grit in the workplace.

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