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How to Manage High Achievers and High Performers

Updated: Nov 21, 2022

It’s every leaders dream to have high performing teams. Organisations are continually striving for High Performance. The first step towards achieving this goal is to make sure you have the right people on board and thrive in the right direction. High performance, after all, starts with you as their leader. It is up to you to nurture them as they grow. Sometimes High Performers, and High Achievers can be trickier to manage than mediocre performers.

Manage High Achievers It’s no surprise that within your team you want high performers. But it’s also important to recognise those high achievers who, with a little coaching, can become high performers. High achievers display a lot of characteristics that benefit the successful output of any team. They are awesome employees but they can sometimes be challenging to manage. For example, high achievers can sometimes be perfectionists. Unless your work program is centred around perfectionistic traits or precise details, this trait can lead to stagnation, slow growth or limit productivity. When your team needs to be agile and try new things to keep your momentum, perfectionism can be a killer. High achievers also have a tendency not to ask for help or delegate. Since they’re the go-to person, their own work can slow down or suffer. They may think that others will be intimidated by their success or they may develop unrealistic expectations. This may lead to these achievers settling for routine work. On the flip side, they may become intensely competitive or intimidating. This could drive the team to greater heights but could also lead to too much competitiveness that could evolve into stress or an uneasy feeling permeating the workplace. Give your high achievers clear goals and deadlines to curb too many perfectionistic tendencies or unrealistic expectations. Be clear on your expected outputs so they don’t pressure themselves.

Manage High Performers High performers always seek growth. If they can’t find it within your organisation then there will be a high risk of these talents moving to, not necessarily greener but pastures, but pastures that offer more opportunities. They also need clarity so they can see the end goal and direction of the company. This doesn’t mean that you need to promote your high performers all the time. Facilitate their thirst for growth by giving them opportunities for diverse experiences (sometimes called stretch goals). They will benefit a lot if you can mentor them yourself so they explore more aspects of the business (function within an organisation). Include them in discussions so they get a bigger picture of what’s happening within the organisation and its trajectory.

Manage both high achievers and high performers For both types of employees, think about these tactics:

  • Recruit top talents through your brand, values and vision.

  • Offer training opportunities for development and advancement.

  • Be clear on your expectations by explaining company goals.

  • Work with them to ensure their personal values are in alignment with the company values

  • Work with them to align their personal goals with those of your organisation.

  • Make sure work remains interesting to build on their creativity. The more creative top talents can be, the more innovative and productive they become.

  • Offer special assignments or projects to get them out of day-to-day or routine work.

  • Provide feedback. High achievers and high performers don’t only want praise but also to know areas they can improve for next time to make it even better.

  • Tell them what they can improve through the stop-start-continue model (what should they stop, start and continue).

What's Next? Being a leader would be easy, apart from that tricky little variable called people. Managing people is one of the hardest tasks of a leader. Remember high achievers focus on what to achieve; high performers focus on how to achieve. Do you have a plan on how to maximise the output of these top talents? Drop me a line so we can talk about it.

Until next time, Eat the Frog, Get the Worm, Be the Bird, and let me know are you a high achiever or a high performer?

If you are interested in having Ally speak at an upcoming event or would like more information about Ally's Programs please book a call.

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