As a boss, managing top performers can be the biggest challenge you will face. While some top performers can be easy to work with, many can be difficult and will push anyone in their way to the edge.
Most of these top performers know they know their stuff. Since they believe others are less knowledgeable and less capable than they are, it taxes them to listen. Even listening to their boss can be a challenge, particularly when they don’t respect him or her!
If you are the boss of difficult top performers, learning how to manage these VIPs is important. It requires you keeping them engaged and growing.
If these difficult top performers are causing you sleepless nights, it’s time for you to improve your management skills. Not, get rid of them. (Remember, we love their results!) If you’re not willing to go the extra mile, consider a different job.
6 Ways to Improve Your Management Skills
- Address “issues” positively with straight talk. Top performers want to feel heard and valued! Unfortunately, they also create conflicts. Don’t avoid conflicts, bulldoze over them, or tell others “it’s the way it is.” This only creates animosity and more conflict! Instead, set a positive example by talking straight and listening to learn from them. Be open to new ideas since top performers have plenty of them!
- Engage these results-producing performers with challenges and new opportunities. Stay away from giving them busywork, which they are quick to spot and resent. A real challenge can look like this: transition a top sales producer to selling in a different market or selling a new product line. First, before transitioning them into a new role, assess the person for job fit with the new challenges and responsibilities. This is critical! A top performer’s skills may not transfer well from the old job to the new one (e.g., success in inside sales does not equate to success in outside sales). Remember, if you move them and they fail, they will leave, taking ideas, results, and other top performers with them.
- Expect good people skills. Too often, we overlook top performers’ interpersonal skills since they are top producers. The problem is they often create chaos and are typically lone-rangers. When there are relationship spats (and there will be), don’t step over or attempt to personally resolve them. Instead, expect them to reach a collaborative resolution within a set period of time.
- Adhere to systems and policies. Too often, difficult top performers believe they are exempt from following systems and adhering to policies. If you managing this, there will be a negative impact on others. Hold them accountable and responsible.
- Focus on developing tangible skills. Don’t manage their personalities. This bears repeating…do not manage their personalities! A qualified 360-degree feedback assessment is an invaluable guide on where to focus. Review the objective data to uncover leadership, communication, and project management skills that need improvement. Only address one or two areas at a time.
- Remember, money is not a motivator. While your difficult top performers may demand more and more money, higher salaries will not keep them or make them easier to work with. Find other ways of compensating them based upon results (e.g., perks, vacations, gift certificates, industry recognition, etc.).
©Jeannette Seibly, 2010-2019
Managing difficult top performers can be one of the most difficult challenges bosses face. As an executive coach, Jeannette Seibly has been championing people and results for the past 26 years. Contact Jeannette today for straight talk with dynamic results.
Run more effective meetings by managing this #1 challenge: http://ow.ly/Maox30oTBr6