He was uniquely talented – one of those people who could do everything he set his mind to.
The problem was, he did.
He wore nearly every hat in the business simultaneously. He was the ideal team member until there came a point where something had to give. Health, family, energy, passion: all started to lag. He started to hate the work he once loved.
This is a common occurrence in business. If you are fortunate enough to have an “A” player like this on your team, you have a very valuable asset. You depend on them. Your business depends on them. Your clients depend on them. Your team depends on them.
Like all assets, there is also inherent liability. The danger is that, sooner or later, your “A” player could become undependable and begin to drop the ball on key initiatives.
As a leader, how can you support your “A” player and, thus, your business?
1. Judge by their overall track record.
While it is easy to see their current behavior and react accordingly, a good leader will see the broader picture and judge them by their overall track record. There are some employees who have less-than-stellar track records and should be corrected or released. But if you have an “A” player who is recently off his or her game, correcting or releasing them could cause major issues for your organization. Chances are, they have been playing a key role in business growth.
2. Address them respectfully as a partner in the business success.
Your “A” player cares deeply about the success of the business. Otherwise, they wouldn’t be an “A” player.
A candid, caring conversation will help to unearth the root cause of their burnout and will help them see how it is affecting the business. Once the issues have been identified, you can work together to resolve them.
3. Help them get back to their core strengths.
Very often, a key player who is great in one role will be promoted to, for example, managing or training people to do the work they formerly did so well. This may or may not be the best fit. At the least, such transition should come with evaluation and training to help them learn new skills. Assigning roles that fit strengths and helping employees grow is one of the most important roles of a leader.
Your goal should be to help your “A” players be challenged outside their comfort zones in order to grow; but not to allow them to get outside their strength zones, which leads to stress and burnout.
4. Give them a break.
There are times, especially after points of high growth or challenge, where burnout hits hard, fast, and unexpectedly.
After each high point, it is important for the team to regroup and recalibrate in order to prepare for the next challenge. Wise leaders will recognize this cycle of success and will not force their team to go from major initiative to major initiative without at least a brief time for recharging.
5. Value them and thank them.
Very often, “A” players do a lot behind the scenes. You may not realize their impact until they are gone, and then, it is too late. Take a moment today to thank your “A” players. Learn what makes them feel valued individually and communicate with them accordingly.
Ultimately, you want your “A” players to feel valued and respected. You also want to take care of them so they can maintain their energy and passion for serving the organization.
For more resources on how you can build and maintain a team of “A” players, click here to learn about the Maxwell Method of Communications Impact Report.
As the CEO of Strength Leader Development, Deb Ingino is a highly sought-after international executive mentor, coach, trainer and speaker. Deb is well versed in global business operations and helps business leaders and their teams to discover and leverage their strengths, so they can create highly collaborative teams that deliver great results. With a refreshingly direct style, Deb helps leaders and their teams to deliver profitable results. Connect with Deb to learn more about her mentorship and coaching programs to equip you with advanced strategies to elevate your results.