high performers

Managing High Performers

By definition, not everyone is or will become, a high performer. So, when you identify a high-performing individual, it’s important that you nurture them, encourage them and keep them engaged.


Identifying High Performers

High performers are exceptional people who leave no stone unturned in the pursuit of excellence, who push through boundaries that limit others, and who routinely reach their goals. For indications of a high performing individual, ask yourself the following questions.  Do they;

  • Reach their goals and then actively seek out the next challenge?
  • Take the initiative in developing their skills?
  • Invest in their own professional development?
  • Actively seek feedback to improve both their self-awareness and their performance?
  • Have a relentless focus on quality?

In identifying high performance, you must start with measurable output and results over time that is directly linked to business performance.  Whilst there is, rightly, a focus on the behaviours of a high performer, monitoring data will ensure that your additional focus on them is, and remains, warranted.


Top Tips For Managing High Performers

  1. Establish their goals and aspirations

    What motivates them?  What career path do they intend to follow? What skills and experiences do they want to gain?  Your genuine interest will help in building trust and respect.

  2. Be clear about your role

    Don’t feel threatened by their drive and ability; it’s in your interest to ensure that the high performers in your team can shine. Make sure that they grasp your view of them as valuable to the team and the organisation. Be open that you intend to give them additional support with the aim of helping them to reach their full potential.

  3. Monitor their energy

    Think about how best they work. Will they respond positively to more stretching objectives and the opportunity to learn new skills? Do they seek out stress? Would they benefit from an additional assignment? Do they operate in a series of sprints? Does having downtime make them more productive overall? By helping them to manage their energy, you will ensure that they remain fully engaged.

  4. Catch them doing things right

    In addition to recognising when goals have been reached, make a point of providing regular feedback on behaviours that have contributed to success. Being specific about the impact and consequences of that behaviour will make the feedback relevant and motivational.

  5. Remove their barriers

    Pay attention to processes, to authority levels, to people and to the environment in which you are operating. Listen out for signs of frustration that there are external factors which are impacting your high performer’s ability to deliver results. Think carefully about what opportunities you have to remove, or to influence the removal of, barriers to their performance.

  6. Allocate budget

    Having a budget, even a small one, can assist with the removal of some barriers such as poor tools and equipment. It also provides an opportunity to reward your high performer with further training, coaching or professional development opportunities.

  7. Learn from them

    Situations frequently arise where the views of individuals within the team can be more persuasive than the voice of the team leader.  If your high performer is able to show you, and the average or poor performers in the team, what they are doing differently it gives an opportunity to improve overall effectiveness.

  8. Consider them as mentors

    Ideally, you would consider them as a mentor for someone in a different role – and elsewhere in the organisation. This will give them a wider perspective of the business as well as helping them to develop skills that would be useful for a future supervisory/leadership role.

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