Top five tips for managing good performers
We’ve all heard of tips and tricks for managing poor performers, but do we ever give any thought to how to manage the good ones?
Generally, our poor performers account for only 20% of our team, but take up 80% of our management time, so often they get more attention than the good performers who can feel taken for granted or burdened by extra work because of their good track record.
When we don’t effectively manage our great performers, they can easily become misaligned with organisational directives and put their energy in the wrong direction. Or worse, if we leave them too much to their own devices, we run the risk of our good performers feeling unrecognised, unrewarded, demotivated and disengaged – which often prompt them to leave workplaces.
So, here are 5 top tips for managing top performers:
1. Communicate, communicate, communicate!
Just because there might be nothing to correct or help with on a task level, doesn’t mean you should ignore your high achievers. Touching base with them regularly to have a chat on a personal level keeps them feeling connected – so give them reasons to keep feeling the love and flexing their loyalty muscles.
Provide informed, positive, fair, accurate and detailed feedback about their performance – and do it regularly. Be knowledgeable about their good performance, have up to date information on it and share it with them often. Good performers like to know that someone is noticing them kick those goals!
Emphasise their performance strengths in regular reviews. While your good performers are mostly motivated internally, that motivation is strengthened if they know that you recognise, value and admire their strengths. You can still be clear about the required performance standards and have candid discussions on where their performance exceeds, meets or falls short of the standard, but lead with their strengths and you’ll continue to get great commitment and performance from them.
2. Give them what they need
Provide your good performers with solutions to their day-to-day challenges. It’s all about providing the base materials for them to do their best work, so give them the information, resources or experiences they need to directly contribute to improved performance.
3. Be the safety net
A good performer thrives when encouraged to take risks. Work with them to ensure these risks are reasonable and calculated – and be there to support them if things don’t turn out as planned. Having a safety net will encourage your high achievers to create and innovate even more, which in turn motivates them even more.
4. Be the good fairy
Provide the opportunity to work on the things that they do best. Yes, it might mean you have to change some roles a bit and divvy up workloads differently, but a good performer will find it rewarding to be able to work on the tasks they have a passion for and are good at. So as much as possible, wave your wand and let them do what they love.
5. Lead with vision and walk your talk
Good performers are driven by high personal standards and a strong sense of personal integrity. They require the same from their leaders and the organisations to which they contribute. They work hard and need to feel that they are lending their talents and efforts to an organisation which is worthy of them. Lack of clear direction in an organisation, or behaviour from a leader which runs counter to their core values or violates their principles will erode their trust. This, more than anything else will prompt them to beat a path out the door.
Feel the love
You’ll notice that these top five tips for managing good performers have no mention of remuneration. Research show that money doesn’t even make it to the top 10 motivators for top performers. It’s the relationship they have with their immediate manager that matters most. So it’s essentially love, not money, which motivates them. Show your top performers some love and provide a clear sense of direction, walk your talk, connect regularly, provide informed feedback, give them the resources they need and let them do what they love.
What’s not to love about that?