Managing and Engaging High Performers
Motivation comes naturally to most high performers; after all, that’s often part of their natural make-up. High performers consistently exceed expectations not only because they have the capability, but also because they want to. With high performers reported to deliver 400% more productivity than average performers, you need to focus on effectively managing and engaging high performers to keep them motivated and engaged.
What Can Go Wrong with High Performers
Being a high performer does not insulate you from problems of overwork and disengagement. Managers need to understand what makes their top performers tick and regularly monitor their workload and level of commitment. While the best managers do this at some degree for all their employees, they pay special attention to their top performers because the loss or burnout of a high performing employee will hurt team productivity significantly. They need to learn about managing and engaging high performers.
Tips for Managing and Engaging High Performers
To avoid over-stressing your high performers to the point where you risk their leaving or disengagement, follow these tips gleaned from our nearly three decades of work in the field of employee engagement and retention.
1. Don’t Expect High Performers to Make Up for Substandard Performers
Top performers can serve as role models for others, but resist the temptation to have them coach too many lower performers or to compensate for the poor performance of their teammates. Not only is this unfair, but it is also discouraging for them and likely to cause resentment.
Your job as manager is to deal with poor performers – find out what isn’t working and deal with it. Only ask your “A” employees to mentor another if they have the time and are inspired to do so.
2. Don’t Always Rely on High Performers to Take on the Most Difficult Projects
Yes, high performers tend to always deliver but occasionally they would benefit from a break, a project that they can quickly handle. Otherwise you may risk wearing them out. Be smart about how far and how hard your push your overachievers.
3. Don’t “Reward” High Performers with More Work
Favors are constantly asked of high performers by their managers and teammates because they are “so good” at everything they tackle. But these small tasks can be time and energy consuming. Make sure your top performers have the time they need to deal with their own job assignments, not those of others, by keeping track of additional requests for their help.
4. Give High Performers a Boost by Giving Them a Choice
Harness the enthusiasm of your high performers by letting them choose projects that interest them. Top performers are energized by a challenge where they can learn new stuff and where they can gain some visibility. With the freedom of choice comes a renewed level of commitment and engagement.
The Bottom Line
Smart managers recognize that their top performers need special treatment; they care about managing and engaging high perfomers. Burnout is all too common among high performers unless their workload is monitored, managed and rewarded. Don’t lose your best folks because they are taken for granted or overworked.
If you want to learn about managing and engaging high performers to improve employee engagement, download The Top 10 Most Powerful Ways to Boost Engagement
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