Most teams have a mix of the top twenty percent aka top performers, solid team members and the bottom twenty percent in terms of performance. In some instances, their talents may not be utilized to the fullest. There are also the team members that do not pull their weight for a variety of reasons. The danger is relying too heavily on top performers and perhaps burning them out with too much work.
Your Role As Manager With Top Performers
As a manager, you want all your team members to succeed. If they are performing well, they are likely more engaged and happier in their role. Your job is to give your team the necessary tools and opportunities to shine in their job. Managers at one time or another in their career may have given too much work to one of their best players. You do not want your top performers to burnout or be resentful of their colleagues. It is easy to fall into that trap. Every day, you want to be fair to each team member, the division of work and fully utilizing their talents.
Holding team members accountable is essential. If your team sees people are getting away with not pulling their weight, it can create toxicity amongst the group. It can really poison the team dynamics. Always being aware of it and holding team members accountable is an important part of being an effective manager. People want to do a good job and make valuable contributions. They want to know how they fit into the bigger picture. Having consistent and honest communications with each member of your team will help build a stronger, highly functioning group. Establish realistic goals, discuss their progress and hold them accountable for achieving those objectives. There are so many things on a manager’s plate and those conversations can be uncomfortable. However, it’s your most important role as a manager and in the long run will lead to better results overall and a greater degree of cohesiveness.
If you overwhelm a top performer, you run the risk of losing them or burning them out. Think in terms of an equal distribution of work. That does not mean you shouldn’t challenge your top twenty percent. You can provide them with meaningful assignments without overloading them. If someone on your team tells you they are feeling overwhelmed, take the time to listen and consider their situation. If they come to you, it shows they feel comfortable enough to do so. They see you as someone they have faith in to support them. How you handle those circumstances has a lot to do with how you are perceived by the team.
Being present as a manager is imperative to having a highly functioning team. You want to make sure your top performers are not burned out and hold all team members accountable. Valuing each team member and their contributions will go a long way to keeping your team motivated and engaged. There should be a fair division of work and accountability for everyone’s performance. Your team will see and appreciate your efforts as a manager.