Keeping top performers on track sounds like a non-issue, but you’d be surprised at how often that overachieving personality can get in the way of getting work done. Top performers work hard to meet deadlines, take up the slack and have through-the-roof productivity. But there are things that can get in the way.
Here are three ways to make sure you’re getting the most out of your top performers:
- Red tape and bureaucracy will slow them down and frustrate them. So try to remove any potential obstacles from their path. If obstacles aren’t taken care of in a timely manner, top performers will lose faith in supervisors and lose productivity. To keep overachieving sales people at Xerox working at peak levels, the vice president of sales sits down with each of them to discuss potential obstacles and solutions. They’ve found a way for top performers to fast-track credit approvals and financing.
- Burnout will quickly undermine any top performer’s success. Often they get frustrated when solutions won’t work and have trouble taking new approaches. While having them at the office all hours of the day and night seems like a great way to boost productivity, it often has the opposite effect. Encourage them to take breaks and go home for the night to relax. One of IBM’s general managers saw one of her people struggling to work on a customer problem. So the manager took the top performer with her on a two day business trip, where half of one day was spent getting pampered at a spa. After 30 minutes of relaxation, the employee started having new ideas that eventually led to solving the problem.
- Failures weigh hard on overachievers. So when a product, sale or project fails after much hard work, they invariably have a hard time seeing past the failure to what was learned from the experience. Stress what can be learned from failures and encourage them to apply that new knowledge to future endeavors. It also helps them retain self-confidence. The CTO at Lycos had to do just that when their new blogging software failed after a year. But he convinced the team of overachievers to apply what they learned to new software. The team came out with two new blogging platforms that are used by over one million bloggers.