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Your Weekly Leadership HVA (High Value Activity)


Hello Vladimir ...

Here's the next in our series of weekly managerial TIPS (Techniques, Insights, and Practical Solutions) to help you better engage your team in the activities that lead to higher performance.

CORE Bites #19: Very early on in my management career I learned a valuable (albeit painful) lesson that I will never forget (and, hopefully, never repeat.) I had a Superstar Employee who I could rely on without hesitation; he consistently delivered quality work — frequently ahead of schedule; went above and beyond, contributing great ideas/suggestions; made good decisions on complex judgment calls; took initiative without overstepping. And, he did all of this while being a great team player influencing others with his positive attitude and enthusiasm. A Superstar? Absolutely! So you can appreciate why I was devastated the day he came to tell me, “I'm leaving for a new opportunity.”

Now, I would never stand in the way of someone leaving for a better opportunity, but I knew, in my heart, that one of the main reasons for his departure was because I had neglected this superstar employee. I had fooled myself into thinking that this superstar was so talented, so skilled, and so motivated that he didn't need anything from me. I was so busy dealing with other 'important' things that I was just glad to have someone I didn't have to worry about. As a result, I inadvertently neglected this superstar ... and subsequently paid the price. The lesson here? Even superstars need support and encouragement; they want to be challenged, stretched, and developed; they need to know how much you appreciate who they are and what they do. Don't ignore your superstars!

High Value Activity (HVA) Action Step: This week (starting today), acknowledge that if you're managing a superstar employee, then you must also be a superstar — a leader who knows how to keep superstar employees engaged, motivated, and committed. Here are a few HVA action steps that will help keep your superstar employees 'flying high':

  • Keep Your Superstars Challenged: In the absence of interesting, growth-oriented (stretch) work that utilizes all of their strengths and intellectual capacity, superstar employees will get bored and (likely) become a statistic. Give them stretch assignments that are just outside of their comfort zone. Make sure they feel fully responsible for the outcome. Identify exactly what tasks or responsibilities bring your superstars the most satisfaction.
  • Provide Superstars with the Right Development Opportunities: Most superstars are hungry to learn (that's what makes them superstars!). You want to feed that hunger with the right development opportunities. If superstar employees don't feel like they're learning something new, they'll check out (and quickly!).
  • Don't Micromanage Superstar Employees: Superstar employees get irritated if they're micromanaged because they want (and, in most cases, deserve) autonomy and ownership over their work. Show that you trust your superstars to get the job done by simply asking "How can I help support you?" or “What do you need from me?” ... and then get out of the way!
  • Let Your Superstars Know How Much You Appreciate Them: Don't take superstar employees for granted. Provide them with visible evidence (tailored to each individual) of how much you appreciate the work they do, and what it means to you, the team, and the organization overall.

I'd love to hear how this HVA works for you!

Have a brilliant day ... and enjoy the journey!


Neil Dempster, PhD, MBA

RESULTant and Behavioral Engineer


"Leadership is the art of giving people a platform for spreading ideas that work." — Seth Godin 


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