Managing a Team of All-Stars

John Krautzel
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A team of all-star employees can be a force to be reckoned with — but only if each person has what they need to work individually and as a team. By adjusting your management strategy to meet the unique needs of high performers, you can harness their collective power and achieve maximum productivity.

Reward Teamwork

When you're dealing with a group that's made entirely of all-star employees, it's important to use an appropriate reward system. Bear in mind that traditional options may not work. For a mixed team, a program that ranks workers tends to be motivational because it creates an aspirational hierarchy. Imposing the same structure on a team of high performers can backfire dramatically — it forces employees to look out for themselves and damages egos, since some of the excellent workers on the team will receive low rankings. A better option is to use a system that rewards teamwork rather than individual performance. This method encourages members to work together, creating a team output that is greater than the sum of its already outstanding parts.

Set Clear Goals

All-star employees often require less oversight than their lower-performing counterparts. They also tend to work faster and be more prolific, enabling the team to make quick progress. Help your employees work to their full potential by establishing a set of clear goals. Include both short-term and long-term milestones so that the team can see the big picture and tailor their immediate efforts accordingly. Don't be afraid to be ambitious — after all, top performers need greater challenges to stay motivated. A solid framework keeps everyone on the same page and allows individuals to make an efficient use of their time. It also helps you track progress and makes it easier to adjust team goals to suit the company's overall objectives.

Encourage Collaboration

If your all-star employees have spent a great deal of time working with lower-achieving workers, they may not be inclined to depend on their colleagues. As a manager of a high-performing team, one of your most important jobs is to encourage and develop interdependencies that maximize employee potential. As a group, discuss each person's major strengths and expertise areas. Then, identify specific ways that employees can leverage each other’s strengths to become more efficient and productive as a team. If your graphic designer has been doing basic coding, for example, you can save time and avoid downstream problems by offloading that task to your resident programming expert. This process builds trust and increases the awareness of individual roles, so your all-star employees can collaborate more efficiently.

Managing a team of all-star employees is both exciting and challenging. When you develop a collaborative system that makes the most of each person's abilities, you can combine their output to create an exponentially more productive end result.

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