It’s too easy to get caught in solving immediate problems and providing oil to the squeaky wheel with the fast pace of business today. I understand as a manager you need to watch the numbers, manage relationships, deal with the problem children, plus keep peers, customers and the bottom line happy. Probably the last thing you want to do is to add another few hours to your working week by attending to something which isn’t broken – but that’s exactly what I going to suggest you do.
Top performers in most cases are simply not set and forget. Granted they probably need little guidance, they’re great at what they do and at times you may even feel that you’re not sure what value you can add but they do deserve your time and attention just like others.
Here’s some reasons why it’s worth paying them special attention
If you’re not close to your top people, how do you know where they are up to skill wise and with their motivation? These are the people you need delivering their best, if it’s the 80/20 rule these are people who are delivering 80% of your teams output. It makes sense to ensure that they are ‘all singing and all dancing”, on target and focused on the right things.
Spending quality time with your top people can be motivating for them, even for the mere fact that you’re listening and showing interest – that validation alone can be motivating and empowering. Also by being in contact and staying close you’ll get wind of any potential hiccups in their world that could potentially derail them, thus keeping them on track and motivated. If you’re not paying attention how can you possibly know if their dog has died or they are annoyed by a work relationship?
These are special people with at times special needs, they’re pumping out the work and at times may bump up against unique problems or opportunities. Are you paying enough attention to match their skills with unique opportunities that come your way? These are the guys that deserve you out of the box thinking and support that goes the extra mile? Are you thinking about them and treating them as if they were your main customer?
Often I see it’s the great performers who (because they’re not a problem) have monthly reviews cancelled. Their manager believes their time is better spent elsewhere – what message does that send if you’re prioritising other things consistently ahead of your best people, what conclusion would you like them to draw from that behaviour. I get that it’s a sign of confidence but does consistently cancelling meetings with them send the message you’d like them to receive?
The key things as a minimum which motivate and engage top people include:
Team meetings which educate and inspire as well as inform and provide instructions
Monthly one on ones which review their business, challenges and progress
Development Plan addressing their career and personal aspirations
A values based team environment where they can thrive
Guidance and a sounding board on technical, strategic and relationship matters
Time with their Manager which is reflective of their value
Opportunities and rewards that reflect their worth ethic, behaviours, values of the team and the results which they deliver.
There’s no doubt some of what I’m suggesting doesn’t need to be done, but what’s the cost of not doing it?
If you had a customer that was key to the success of your business how much attention would you pay them? Are you treating your people the same?