How to Manage Difficult High Performers at Work

High performers and how to spot top performers

High performers at work are employees who consistently perform exceptionally better at their jobs and exceed the set standard expectations. They find it easy to learn new skills and can fit into different environments with little struggle. High performers can solve problems quickly and always challenge themselves to meet tight work deadlines.

High performers are perfectionists, so they focus a lot more on everything that can go wrong. And what is more, one top performer can do better and add significant value to the job than six average performers.

How do You Manage High Performers at Work?

1. Give Them New Challenges

Having a group of high performing employees in your team is something every manager wants. But it’s not always easy to manage supremely talented and high performing individuals.

You need to keep them busy with different challenging tasks to make their job more meaningful.  Otherwise, they become bored so quickly doing the same things every day.

Unfortunately, many managers struggle to keep high performing employees motivated.

You need to be proactive when you are managing a high performing group of employees. Managers don’t have to wait until it’s late to know whether their employees are happy.

Always engage them and ask how they feel about the job. Find out if something is missing in their current job and how exactly they want you to address it.

2. Provide Them Learning Opportunities

Many high performers want to learn more skills to increase the chances of moving into other roles. This is something you cannot ignore because if you do, they will leave for another job.

Find something different within your workplace and help them get the experience and exposure they need. But you should do the same for all your employees if you want to build a strong team of high performers.

3. Avoid Micromanaging  High Performers

Many managers micromanage employees and demand them to do things in a specific way. This is not the way talented employees and high performers want to work. Top performers want to be the source of their actions.

So they need autonomy to make choices and manage their actions — instead of being told how to work. And they don’t want to wait for a manager to decide on everything they do.

If you insist on making the final call, they lose commitment and the desire to work well.

4. Give Them Autonomy

When you give up some of your powers to talented employees, your role as a manager doesn’t become irrelevant. Instead, it evolves into something much more meaningful.

Failing to give freedom to high performers undermines your trust and credibility.

You need to know that micromanaging a high performer is the worst sin you can commit as a manager. Because it is what hinders high performers and turn them into average employees.

5. Keep Engaging High Performers at Work

High performers don’t want to be micromanaged, but they still need your attention. They do need your support to fuel their enthusiasm and passion.

Most high performing employees want to be recognized. And they can be demotivated if they realize that their leaders only care when things go wrong.

So, you must pay positive attention and give them support to allow them to go in the right direction.

6. Ensure Everyone is Performing

Many high performers don’t mind dealing with work backlog, but not the one caused by poor performing coworkers. A lot of resentment and frustration emerge each time high performers leave their job to do someone else’s work.

You may have seen this in your own work experience. Some people struggle to do a fair amount of work. And they keep complaining that their work is too much for one person to handle.  

It creates a backlog that affects productivity and deadlines. But once they move on and you get in the other people, the work moves without any complaints.

So, you have to do something if someone is a constant poor performer. First, it is worth investing time and effort in developing underperforming people. But the people you are trying to develop must improve. Otherwise, the cost of keeping poor performers can be enormous.

High performers usually move on if managers fail to solve people’s performance issues. And when they leave, teams suffer from a bunch of slackers. You should off-load employees who consistently do not make a positive contribution to team performance.

7. Performance Manage Poor Performers

Most workplaces have guidance on how to deal with poor performance. The guidelines show the steps you need to take if specific individuals don’t perform as expected.

That often takes time and effort to get it done. Unfortunately, some managers find the process inconveniencing and become reluctant to manage performance.

8. Give Them Real Feedback

Best performers always want to hear how their work is impacting the business. As a manager, you need to have regular engagements with all employees to provide feedback.

No matter how talented or exceptional the employee is, the person needs feedback.

Don’t think that high performers don’t need a manager’s assessment. And, don’t wait until there is a problem or crisis before you talk to the employees. You should be giving regular feedback and do it with honesty.

9. Offer Them Genuine Compliments

Most high performers don’t expect to receive negative feedback from their managers. You need to be aware of that. But don’t feed their egos by fluffing feedback with artificial praises to keep them happy. That will not help the employees learn and grow themselves.

You don’t have to be negative or going overboard with your praises. Think about how to praise high performers.

Let them know whether you are honoring their efforts or their innate skills. If not, they become skeptical and start questioning your intentions.

10. Habits of High Performers 

Sometimes high-performance employee behaviors can have a negative effect in the workplace.  

High performers usually expect equal performance theirs from others. This can create team tensions and undesirable behaviors within the team.

Also, in many workplaces, talented employees trample on others, and they get away with it because managers choose not to do anything.

As a manager, you must not play favoritism and allow any employee to overstep boundaries in the workplace. It is part of your responsibility to act and ensure that all employees are treated appropriately. You cannot treat certain employees differently from others just because they are talented or high performers.

How do you manage the habits of high performers at work?  Please leave your thoughts in the comment box below

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