As a supervisor or manager, a large part of your responsibility is growing your top people.  How can you keep them learning, challenged, engaged? 

A mistake we make

Rather than working with our outstanding employees, we often find ourselves spending most of our time and energy on under-performing employees, those who might or might not make it.  We know our really good employees will do a stellar job so we leave them alone.  

But it’s a huge mistake to ignore your outstanding performers.  They are the future leaders of your organization.   And they are the ones who will leave.  They have initiative, drive, contacts—they’ll move on if they’re stagnating and not appreciated.

What to do instead

One thing to do with these top achievers is to challenge them to expand their knowledge and capabilities by giving them “stretch” assignments.

In 1961, President John Kennedy famously announced that the United States would land a man on the moon and return him safely to earth by the end of the decade. It is still thrilling to see footage of NASA accomplishing this on July 20, 1969–just 5 months ahead of the deadline Kennedy had set.  I recently watched a documentary on the space program. I was fascinated to hear from a now elderly man who was a top NASA official in 1961 talking about when the NASA team heard President Kennedy’s announcement.  NASA’s private response was, “That’s not possible!”  It was certainly a stretch assignment!   And they did it.

Steve Jobs said, “No one tells employees they can do extraordinary things.”  

Stretch assignments are just one way to keep your top people motivated. In our Engaging, Motivating, and Coaching Employees learning event we teach leaders how to best provide stretch assignments as well as other ways to keep high achievers growing and challenged. 

You don’t want your best and brightest bored or disengaged.  You want them energized, thinking, learning, and growing. Click here to request information on doing just that.