Going Over And Beyond Could Get You Voted Off The Island

According to four separate studies led by a Washington State University social psychologist “unselfish workers who are the first to throw their hat in the ring are also among those that coworkers most want to, in effect, vote off the island.”

They are the first person to raise their hand when your boss shares their task list for a new project and the person most likely to say they love taking on the minutia everyone else hates. You may consider them a valuable team member or someone who is consistently showing up the rest of the team. As a manager it’s your job to recognize the affects an ‘over achiever’ or a ‘poor performer’ has on the rest of your staff. Both scenarios can create interpersonal conflicts and degrade the overall performance of the team.

Regardless of whether you are dealing with someone who is slacking or a person who is gung-ho to support the needs of the organization, to the chagrin of his/her co-workers, it’s important to create a fair workplace – a workplace where everyone’s contributions are treated equally and encouraged.

A Few Tips To Help You Maximize The Strengths of Your Entire Team:

  • Make sure you are actively soliciting input from all staff. Sometimes those that speak few words provide the greatest wisdom. For individuals that may be reticent to share their insights, recommendations or advice, seek out their feedback by asking them for it.
  • You need thinkers and do’ers. Discern which persona your different staff members embody and appeal to their strengths and find out what motivates them.
  • Speaking of motivating employees, ensure you reward effort and results appropriately. Check out tips for motivating employees and increasing engagement.
  • Determine what level you need each role, not necessarily each person, to contribute. Understand what’s required (the “bar”) for each role and ensure those assigned are meeting it. It’s not necessarily about treating everyone exactly the same. It’s about understanding the role you need each person to play, communicating individual expectations and holding them consistently accountable to those standards.
  • Don’t play favorites and set clear expectations and goals for your entire team. Generally people want to do good work and want clear expectations placed on them so they know what is needed from them to succeed. Ask yourself whether you have set clear goals to your “poor performers”? If you haven’t clearly communicated the “bar”, there’s no way for them to ensure they are meeting it.

Have a few tips you’d like to add? We love hearing from our readers! Please enter your comments in the form below. We really appreciate your thoughts and input.

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"My professional passion stems from a fascination with how the individual needs of employees, managers, and the business converge to produce an outcome. I’m driven by a desire to help leaders and employees find the balance between competing needs so they can work together to address the challenges they face."