Not sure why your top performer is unhappy? Check out what the most brilliant (yet difficult) employees hate about company culture.
1. Inconsistent / Frequently Changing Priorities
Why It’s a Problem: Nothing irritates a top performer more than ditch-to-ditch or fad-based management.
How to Spot It: Employees hunkering down every time a new initiative is introduced–glazing over at strategy meetings.
What to Do About It: Set a short-, medium-, and long-term strategy and stick to each for a reasonable period without being distracted by the newest new thing.
2. Condoning Mediocrity
Why It’s a Problem: The No. 1 reason high performers leave organizations in which they are otherwise happy is because of the tolerance of mediocrity.
How to Spot It: Disdain and distance between top performers and others who are not pulling their weight. Dissatisfaction with rewards (compensation, bonuses, awards, etc.) given to others.
What to Do About It: Set high goals for the entire organization and build in both rewards (for success) and consequences (for failure). Apply both consistently and fairly.
3. Round Peg / Square Hole Syndrome
Why It’s a Problem: High performers like to do what they’re good at‚ not be used as stopgaps in some other way. They view themselves as Ferraris and get frustrated if they think they are being used as golf carts.
How to Spot It: Disengagement from their allocated tasks and responsibilities. Lack of follow-up and accountability. General mopiness.
What to Do About It: Review (with them) what you want this person to do. Freshen up job descriptions and reorientate top performers to tasks that only they can do.
Why It’s a Problem: Same as above: When you’re a Ferrari (or think you are), you don’t want to spend your time idling at the curb.
How to Spot It: Freelancing in areas that aren’t their responsibility. Getting under everyone’s feet. Going rogue.
What to Do About It: Have the employee produce a list of what he or she could/should be doing to occupy free time. Review and agree on utilization. Look at your own delegation skills–if you have an underutilized top performer, it’s a sure sign you’re a micromanager who has problems delegating.
5. Playing Favorites
Why It’s a Problem: Top performers not only believe in a meritocracy. It’s their air and water. Start playing favorites and bypassing people despite their results, and your top performers will be out of there before you can say, “Holy second cousin.”
How to Spot It: Your sister Sarah’s son Jimmy seems much happier than your best salesperson.
What to Do About It: If you need to be told, you shouldn’t be managing people.