Star performers are what dreams are made of in the world of personnel management. They work hard, know what it takes to get the job done and most often out produce their coworkers by leaps and bounds. Why then, do many managers find supervising high performers so challenging? Star performers often master tasks and work assignments at a faster pace than their counterparts and quickly become bored without the challenge of complex assignments. To keep your star performers engaged and on the path to stardom consider a plan that will combine personal development with intrinsic reward. Below are some techniques that will enable your high performers to stay engaged and on the path to fulfilling their potential:
- Increase decision-making opportunities. High performers need the opportunity to develop and implement ideas they believe will be successful. Allowing them to put their ideas into action strengthens problem solving and implementation skills. When all goes well, self-esteem and intrinsic reward elevate. When things don’t go as planned, your high performer is provided a learning opportunity in dealing with and recovering from a less-than-perfect decision.
- Provide constructive feedback. High performers need praise and should be rewarded, just as you do with other employees. However, high performers are consistently looking for ways to improve their performance and desire constructive feedback to help them improve. As a supervisor, you need to consider personality types before providing your feedback; but, generally speaking, star performers tend to handle constructive criticism well. Pointing out problems and requiring solutions provides one more challenge for your star performers and an opportunity for personal growth.
- Relate personal achievement to the bigger picture. Personal success has the potential to translate and expand into success and achievement for the organization. When your high achievers realize this, they will find ways to improve themselves, often on their own time. Taking responsibility for decisions and their effects on organizational members, customers and vendors is an invaluable learning and teaching tool when endeavoring to transform your star performers into superstars.
- Provide opportunity to interact with all levels of employees and executives. When your high achievers are exposed to the range of organizational members from line workers to executives, they are provided the opportunity to sharpen their communication and listening skills. This is particularly true when they are assigned the task of team leader for a company project. They learn to gather information from others team members who have expertise in areas they don’t. They learn to delegate, motivate and resolve conflict; skills they may not use on a daily basis in their everyday roles. This type of assignment provides an excellent opportunity for a supervisor to provide coaching and mentoring as well.
Providing opportunity for growth to your star performers may have its difficulties in the beginning. However, as a supervisor, if you continue to give your star performers stretch assignments they will be grateful to you when they experience the satisfaction of a job well done. They will also thank you later for the difficult lessons learned when assignments or decisions don’t go as planned. Either way, the star performer gains from experiences they would not have had, if not for you. As the supervisor, you help others stretch and grow, which ultimately benefits the organization. It is a win/win for you and your new superstar!