The high achiever
Unless you’ve had the experience of managing a high achiever, you may be surprised to see them classified as “difficult”. There is usually no doubt that high achievers produce results. Intelligent, possessing high standards, they often exceed expectations in their performance. So why are they sometimes difficult to manage?
It’s because of high expectations, both of themselves and of others. This characteristic which makes them high achievers also means they have high expectations of you as a manager and as a leader. And when you don’t deliver, they get frustrated, disappointed, dismissive etc.
If you are fortunate enough to have high-performing staff, you want them to keep doing what they are doing without any “work” on your part and of course, you want them to stay. Most managers think that “managing” is only required when you want to change behaviour and that “high achievers” can get along fine with a few pats on the back, a few bonuses, pay rises and so on. Unfortunately, it’s not quite that simple. Your high achiever probably needs more “work” than you realise.
Things to consider when managing the high achiever
- Expectations – Communicate your expectations clearly. This should be through a formal performance management system with set criteria and goals. If one of your expectations is that this should be a “low maintenance” relationship, then articulate it. Your high achiever will appreciate knowing and will most likely work towards that goal.
- Feedback – Asking for feedback is as essential as providing it. Allow your high achiever the opportunity to articulate their expectations of you. This might seem challenging but if handled properly, should build respect and a more constructive relationship.
- Reward structure – Rewards aren’t necessarily all about money. Learn what motivates your high achiever and use this information in your reward structure. For some, appreciation, recognition and respect are priceless!
- Opportunities – High achievers will expect opportunities for growth. Hopefully, your business is able to offer this opportunity. If your business operates on a flat structure, offer the opportunity in their work e.g. changing and increasing responsibilities. At some stage, the high achiever may outgrow what your business is able to offer them. Acknowledge that this may happen and make the most of the time you have.
Would you like to hear more about managing difficult staff? Please share your challenges in the comments section.