[2 Min Read] Is Your High Performer Ready to Manage Others?
High performers are true assets to their teams. These are individuals who excel when it comes to skills and responsibilities. We call them “A Players” or “Thoroughbreds”. They impress their managers. They are results-driven and motivated, and their work carries a sense of excellence. They have little need for supervision or hand-holding. They latch on to the goal or vision of what is expected from them, and they make it happen.
However, most of the time, these high performers need a completely different skill set to jump from being an independent contributor to managing others. How do you know if they enjoy helping others succeed? Are they motivated to drive results through their team’s work? Do they have to have the final say in decisions? Some of these answers you can’t figure out until after they dive into managing others, but here are a few ideas to get you thinking about the right things:
Ask them. Ask if they feel they are ready to manage others by painting a picture of what their future would look like and how their day to day may change. For example, if they are highly motivated by project outputs and that is why they are a high achiever, if they begin to manage others, more of their time will be spent coaching, reviewing other’s work, and reporting metrics. This may drastically change how fulfilled they feel, and produce poor leadership results. Harvard Business Review advises to first ask your employee, “Where do you want to go next, and what experiences do I need to give you to make sure you get there?” Some high performers accomplish a lot because they have a great deal of stamina and a constant need for achievement. Other high performers are driven by the need to advance. They want to be a leader, and they know the path to leadership starts with excelling in their current role.
Ask their team. Start by asking yourself – are they already leading or mentoring their peers? If you notice less experienced staff turning to them for help, that’s a good sign, especially if you see that your high performer enjoys the opportunity to help others! Ask their team if they have strong interpersonal communication skills. Are they are able to articulate their thoughts and ideas clearly, present information in a straightforward and logical way, and they ensure that they are understood? Are they empathetic and empowering?
Support either outcome. You need to make sure your high performer has enough on their plate to stay fully engaged, but not so much that they get burned out. Regardless of your personnel needs, if it’s clear they desire to stay an independent contributor, let them! Let them lean into what they are good at. Give your highest performers a chance to continue to excel at their strengths. If they find themselves getting bored, then you can work with them to find other skills they’d like to improve upon, whether it’s a management role or not.
Until next time, lead on.
The Leadr Team