Leaders Enlarge the Talent of Others

By | April 5, 2018

[April 5, 2018]  Anyone who has ever had a tough boss knows the value of a hard-hitting taskmaster that is committed to expanding your talents.  Tough bosses can recognize talent before others do but they can also push you to do things you never thought possible.  There may not have been a tougher boss than ballet choreographer Jerome Robbins.

“Dance is like life.  It exists as you are flitting through it, and when it’s over, it’s done.” – Jerome Robbins, American choreographer, director, and theater producer

Jerome Robbins is the one person who changed the face of Broadway with the now-famous play West Side Story.1  Legend has it that those who worked for him lost their fear of hell because of their work experience with him.  Robbins’ was dedicated to getting the most out of the talent with which he was entrusted.  Jack Klugman once said, “If he told me to jump out of a window, I’d do it.  And, it’d be good.”

He recognized that big change was all about big ideas, and that big ideas are all about big talent.  Robbins understood that in the complex world of ideas that marks today’s world, American talent is its best asset.  His goal was to make that happen and he put his heart and soul into it.

Talent, he knew, was not expendable.  It is not something to be controlled but to be nourished in the upward movement of those who had it.  Most importantly, Robbins recognized that leading talent is all about helping it develop and then letting it go.  Such genius is rarely seen but it can be appreciated.

This year in 2018, the arts community is having a Centennial Celebration of Jerome Robbins (1918-1998).  It has been said that his creative genius during the 20th Century continues today.2  The Jerome Robbins Centennial Timeline is a year-to-year look at the significant events, experiences, and passages in his life and story.

I recommend following this story for the reason that it shows us how a man could find talent and push it to levels never seen before.  This is a real story of a leader who was able to enlarge the talent of others.


  1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/billfischer/2018/04/02/the-nuts-and-boltons-of-leadership/#53d735bc4110
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Author: Douglas R. Satterfield

Hello. I'm Doug and I provide at least one article everyday on some leadership topic. I welcome comments and also guests who would like to write an article. Thanks for reading my blog.

26 thoughts on “Leaders Enlarge the Talent of Others

  1. Joe Omerrod

    This goes along with enlarging the pool of talented people. Once a leader has established that he (or she!) can develop the talent in people, more folks are attracted to them. Case in point is Jerome Robbins.

  2. Jerry Jones

    I find that only the best leaders can identify and work to improve the talents of others, while – at the same time – still be a leader of others and get the job done.

  3. Bryan Lee

    I fear that I must bring up a savory topic. But I will do it with a question … Are politicians reading this at all?

    1. Dennis Mathes

      Of course they aren’t. Bryan, you are so optimistic.

  4. Max Foster

    This is why leadership is so important. It gets people to do things they would have never dreamed of doing … and doing it better than they could have ever expected.

  5. Anita

    I’m personally fortunate someone recognized a few of my small talents and showed me how to grow. Without that help early in my career, I would have surely failed.

  6. Georgie M.

    Many years ago when it was on Broadway in Manhattan NY, I saw the play West Side Story. It was the best one ever. At the time I did not know that Jerome Robbins was involved; I just knew it was a great story and fabulously choreographed.

    1. Drew Dill

      A great play and eventually a great movie too.

  7. Joey Holmes

    Good idea. So that explains why my parents spend more time with my older brother.

  8. Shawn C Stolarz

    Jerome Robbins was a very special man. Much is being done now to celebrate his life and his ability to improve the talent of so many people.

  9. Jung-hoon Kim

    My time is often dedicated to the talented.

  10. Yusaf from Texas

    Many of my coworkers learned this the hard way. Good to know.

  11. Kenny Foster

    Ever wonder why leaders have only the best people around them? This is the reason. Smart, talented people know who can help them be better. It usually is with a leader who is also exceptional in some way.

  12. Tracey Brockman

    I’m glad that there were people like Martin Luther King, Jr. who helped us push away our primitive desires to treat people who are different (race, sex, religion) as somehow bad. Our focus all along should be on a person’s character and talent, not the color of their skin. Developing the talent of someone is the epitome of great leadership.

    1. Greg Heyman

      I remember those days of the 1960s all too well. MLK was originally just a troublemaker and then we all began to realize that what he said made sense. Sadly, he was assassinated by a nut case and his ability to include all peoples was lost to the radical side of the Black Power movement.

  13. Mark Evans

    Talented folks are not that common. Enlarging their talent is good for everyone. My daughter was a skilled piano player but only when she was noticed by an exceptional music teacher did she truly bloom.

  14. José Luis Rodriguez

    Too many people today are focused on the phsyical attributes of what we look like rather than our talents. Such views that we treat people based on the color of their skin or the gender or some other tribal attribute is unfortunate. Our talents are what needs help.

    1. Janna Faulkner

      Spot on Jose. Looks like our society is headed in the wrong direction, however. University “snowflake” children are running the asylum there and politicians running it elsewhere.

  15. Ronny Fisher

    I’m the first to admit that when I was a new manager that I never thought of this. Today, I’m better and spend the majority of my time developing others who have talent.

  16. Andrew Dooley

    Enlarging the talents of others is proof of selfless service and a smart move to boot. I was given a chance to work at a big firm in my younger days. If it were not for my boss who helped me along the way, I would never have gone into business later.

  17. Army Captain

    Identifying, keeping, developing, and encouraging talented individuals is key to good leadership. Always has been and always will be.

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