How to manage a high performer: 5 tips you need to know

As a manager, you can wrongfully think that managing a high performer should be much easier, as they’re delivering more and exceeding targets. However, you couldn’t be more mistaken.

But before getting into it, who exactly is a high performer? What are their characteristics, traits, and potential issues with managing one?

In this post, you’re going to find everything you need for managing high performers and what are the advantages of having them on your team. Let’s find out!

What is a high performer?

High performers are people who consistently exceed expectations and generate impressive results.

According to the dictionary, a high performer is someone “working or operating at an above-average standard.” Depending on their field, high performers can have various skills that help them cultivate excellence at work. 

two people meeting at work

How to manage a high performer: 5 golden tips

1. Keep them challenged but not burned out 

As a manager, you must ensure your high-performer worker has enough on their plate to stay fully engaged but not so much that they get burned out. 

Most high performers are hungry to learn and get better. Therefore, you want to feed that desire with the right development opportunities.

Get your high-performer special training in other areas that they might be interested in or that are important for their role.

If the high performer doesn’t feel like they’re learning something new or something they care about, they’re going to check out quickly.

Allow your high performer to get more knowledge in areas where they’re weaker. It’ll make them feel valued and grateful.

2. Define goals and expectations clearly 

Setting realistic goals for your employees is always important, but for your high performers, it’s necessary.

High performers are a lot more ambitious, therefore having clear goals in your team will motivate them to stay. Yet, it’s not just any goals.

Besides defining goals for their own job, they wish to set goals for their career, such as promotions and growth within the company.

3. Offer autonomy

Giving your high performer more autonomy means that you trust them enough to give them more freedom.

Research suggests that autonomy is one of the most powerful drivers of motivation at work, especially when it comes to high performers.

Also, this will allow you not to micromanage. If you’ve been a manager for a while, you’ve probably already realized that the chances your high performer knows how to manage their own work better than you’re huge. So let them!

It’ll avoid micromanaging and motivate your high performer a lot more.

4. Give feedback more regularly 

This is a must in how to manage a high performer: feedback. It’s one of the several ways to motivate employees to be more productive.

High performers always look to improve, so giving them actionable feedback is extremely important.  

To help someone feel progress in their career, giving them feedback on how they’re performing and how they’ve developed is essential.

Sadly, most companies only give their employees an annual review, and that’s clearly insufficient, especially for high performers. 

As a manager, you must engage in much more frequent check-in conversations – establish regular meetings, whether weekly or monthly, to review your high performer’s work, offer feedback and discuss future goals. But avoid those unproductive meetings. They’ll get bored.

Though, don’t forget to follow this special tip: instead of giving all the feedback at once, try separating positive feedback from negative feedback.

By sandwiching them together, you can lead to one of the two getting under-emphasized. Also, negative feedback is better when there’s a specific time to discuss and co-create new methods or behaviors for the future.

5. Encourage self-care

And last but not least, self-care. Pay extra attention to how much time your employee spends on the job and encourage them to take breaks to stay motivated and relaxed.

Remind them of the importance of managing stress and maintaining a work-life balance.

Check on them regularly to see how they’re feeling and ensure they’re not overworking.

Now you know 5 tips that will help you manage high performers, let’s see what the advantages are of having them on your team.

What are the benefits of having high performers on your team?

  • Hardworking
  • Optimism
  • Organizations
  • Motivation

Hardworking

High performers are extremely hardworking and commit themselves to their work 200%.

They can also stay focused on a task for long periods of time, which is a plus. They’re eager to work overtime to accomplish their goals, find ways to improve, and be present in different projects.

Optimistic

Many high performers naturally have a positive and optimistic attitude that encourages others and helps them overcome their day-to-day challenges.

High performers are not easily discouraged and are constantly trying to find new ways to solve problems around them.

Organized

Being well-organized allows high performers to simultaneously keep track of different tasks and deadlines. 

a motivated person at work

Motivated

High performers are strongly motivated to succeed and spend time seeking out new opportunities.

They find ways to become personally invested in their work and take pride in their professional accomplishments.

Pay attention to these 3 signs of high performers

However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Despite their talent and success, high performers may also have traits and habits that are not that good for them or the business.

Prone to burnout

As a manager, you may rely on high-performing employees, who may feel intense pressure not to disappoint. Their desire to succeed can lead to them becoming overworked and experiencing burnout.

bored and distracted person at work

Easily bored

High performers can feel limited and bored if they don’t have the opportunity to grow, causing them to feel unappreciated and disengaged at work. 

Impatient

Some high performers have trouble working as part of a team.

They may get impatient with the output of other employees and perceive that they could do a better job working by themselves. 

Do you still think that’s easy managing a high performer?

After reading our blog, you know the benefits and the extra care you need to take when managing a high performer.

As said before, high performers are generally super ambitious and can be extremely attractive to other companies. Therefore, as a manager, you should pay special attention to them if you wish to keep them on your team.

However, don’t fall into the error of letting them break into certain protocols or have special treatment in comparison to other team members. If other people notice it, they can build resentment, which is not ok.

Nevertheless, treating them as deserved and making them feel valued will let them set the tone for the rest of the team.

If you correctly figure out how to manage your high performers, they’ll be able to deliver great work, and their effort and positive attitude can boost the rest of the team. And a happy team is a productive team! 

Recognizing this, the best managers turn these five tips into regular habits. And in doing so, they build a team where everyone, whether high performers or future high performers, can do their best work.

Now, you know more about how to lead a team and succeed.

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