Provide ongoing support for your high performers by coaching them and providing the development tools they need. You can help high performers work at optimal levels by providing feedback, addressing concerns promptly, ensuring that they remain challenged in their projects, and recognizing their career aspirations.
- When you communicate with your high performers, approach them as a coach rather than a director. That sends a subtle but very real message about the way you perceive their achievements and respect their contributions. Here are five ways you can use coaching techniques to get even better results from your high performers. First, get to know them. Use transparent dialogue to find out what makes them tick. Work to understand what types of projects they enjoy, and those that demotivate them. What strength sets them apart? What might be holding them back? Openly discussing this information can help you build trust and better target their assignments.
And when you can give them projects in the sweet spot, ones that leverage their expertise and preferences, you can demonstrate your interest in making sure they're appropriately challenged while rewarding their value. Second, know where they want to go. Through your coaching conversations, encourage your high performers to be candid about how they ideally want their careers to progress. Then figure out how you can help them reach their long-term goals. With that said, I know it can be tempting to keep them where they are, or find ways to make it worth their while to stay.
After all, they are playing a major role in your team's success. Avoid that temptation. Be willing to support them in their growth. If they're looking for advancement, sign them up for rotation groups, submit them for promotions, help them get ahead. People will notice that you are the kind of manager who cares about your team members. And you'll likely have a long line of high performers who want to work for you, learn from you, and experience the coaching that regularly leads to greater success.
Third, establish checkpoints for their progress. While high performers want to work independently, it's essential to periodically check in on their work progress. Encourage them to ask you questions. They might assume that you expect them to solve all the problems on their own. So make it safe for them to use you as a sounding board. In the process, you may be able to identify small problems and fix them before they become large ones. This can be tough for some managers who are reluctant to correct their talented superstars.
In some ways, those managers have been taken hostage by the promise of extraordinary results. They just don't want to rock the boat. Don't be afraid to step in if there's a problem. That's your job. You can communicate corrections respectfully, but work quality has to come first. Fourth, provide specific feedback. High performers might say they don't want feedback, but trust me, they do. And not just people telling them how great they are. They want regular specific feedback that can help them improve in tangible ways.
Sometimes the honest assessment they need isn't so much about their work progress, but about the way they handle their emotional or interpersonal aspects of their jobs. We already know how high performers put a great deal of pressure on themselves. Managers need to provide guidance on ways to better handle stress, to deal with failure, or to make a stronger impact on their colleagues and coworkers. Providing constructive criticism in a coaching environment steers clear of comments that are belittling or degrading.
Instead, it focuses on helping high performers fine-tune their skills in a way that allows them to generate even greater results. That's feedback they want to hear. Finally, be a positive role model. Listen empathetically and communicate clearly. Keep your word if you make a commitment to do something for them or your entire team. Demonstrate the powerful impact of working with and through others. By setting that example, you'll be teaching them some of the most important ways to contribute at a higher level.
Effectively coaching your high performers means capturing the nuances of communicating important information without eroding the sense of trust you've built. And when it's done well, you'll be adding serious momentum to some already impressive career trajectories.
- Knowing who you're managing
- Common challenges among high performers
- Expectations that high performers bring to their jobs
- Helping your high performers work at peak levels
- Coaching and developing high performers