Manager's Tips and Tools

by Manager Development Services

Nurturing Your Superstars (pt 2 of 3) “Red Flags”


• Fatigue is the number one red flag in identifying burnout early on. Since most superstars naturally run at a faster pace than others anyway, they often don’t recognize fatigue or they explain it away.

• Increased sensitivity to criticism. The individual will begin to take comments seriously he/she would previously have interpreted as just joking around.

• The individual becomes indecisive. Exhaustion, especially coupled with poor nutrition, deprives the brain of needed fuel and rest. The brain loses its ability to function properly, causing the individual to second guess.

• Begins to forget things and has difficulty concentrating. It’s difficult to focus on the task at hand when your mind is spinning to make sure you don’t miss or forget something. This causes the individual to get further behind, causing even more frustration.

• Becomes frustrated easily, creating more forgetfulness, more difficulty concentrating, and more stress.

• Becomes anti-social and will tend to isolate. Doesn’t have time to waste talking to people and will rush people when the individual has to interact.

• Begins to have difficulty getting daily duties completed. Without the ability to concentrate, the individual remembers things he forgot to do later on, compelling the individual to backtrack and correct the error.

• Increase in absenteeism, causing individual to get even further behind.

• Becomes indifferent, developing a “F___ it” attitude.

As manager, I need to keep my eye on all my staff. Neglecting any member will ultimately affect every member. By monitoring my superstars I can nurture their success and thus the success of my entire staff. I must look for red flags, which will warn me of impending burnout or attitudes of mediocrity. Each employee is important, but superstars set the standards for others to aspire to.

In counseling superstars, I need to be aware of their particular personality types. There are basically two areas and two types of sessions I use when reviewing these “lost children”; when a superstar is doing well and when a superstar is in a slump.

When a Superstar is doing well

When a superstar is doing well, I, of course, only want to nurture and assist. I am there mainly just to listen. I’m not going to tell them what to do, if they are already doing exceptionally well. Many managers feel they must introduce new ideas and procedures to coach the individual on to even greater heights. Or, they feel it’s their duty as management to find some area to criticize.

All this does is “piss off” the superstar because this is a person who already knows what to do. After all, they’re doing it!

My job is to get out of their way and let them do what they were hired to do. I do want to:

1) validate their success,

2) look for signs of mediocrity or burnout,

3) reaffirm that I am here to provide assistance whenever they may require it, and

4) inspect what they’re doing so I may learn and pass the information on to others.

When a Superstar is in a slump

Superstars fall into ruts at times and become tired, bored, antsy, and just want a change. But superstars are often overly hard on themselves. It’s important to identify the “core problem” in a situation like this early on. Is the problem a change of support staff which may need to be brought up to speed or is there a more serious problem such as loss of purpose and/or passion in the superstar himself?

My basic job is to support and encourage, but I also want to walk my superstar through a reality check (see “List of Tools” in Index) to identify where the real problem lies. Identifying the core problem is key when devising solution options. It’s impossible to come up with effective solution options if I misinterpret the core problem (see: Setting Fires…” this chapter).

I look for red flags, read body language, and “peal the onion.” I get the superstar to talk by using what, where, when, and how questions. Usually, just support and validation is enough to help a superstar through a slump. It’s important that I remember to inspire and not try to motivate.

– excerpt from “Managing from the Heart – A Way of Life”


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September 14, 2011 - Posted by | Counseling Techniques, Employee Coaching, Leadership Skills, Manager Development Tools, Mentoring, Personal Development, Self-esteem | , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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