In every team – regardless of the industry in which the company operates or the area in which the group is involved (sales, marketing, IT, HR, etc.) – it is possible to identify individuals who perform their duties adequately and those who regularly exceed expectations in terms of their productivity. The latter group is often referred to as highly effective employees and is characterized by its potential to generate significant benefits for the company (influencing its development and achievement of set goals).

However, managing it can sometimes be a challenge for a leader who fails to fully realize the potential of such a person. Below we explain how to recognize a highly effective employee and give tips on how to manage him or her to ensure excellent results for the team or the company.

Who are highly effective employees?

Highly effective employees are distinguished from everyone else in a team or company by their level of achievement, productivity, efficiency and commitment to their work. They are highly motivated to work, they are not afraid to take the initiative, and they emphasize improving their skills at every step.

It is worth emphasizing, however, that any employee can become highly effective – for this is not a naturally assigned trait, but depends, among other things, on one’s attitude or the support received from the company (training, development incentives, appreciation of results in the form of actual rewards, etc.). Among the most important characteristics describing this type of person we will point out:

  • excellent performance – they are focused on performing their duties properly and strive to achieve the best possible results,
  • focus on quality – for these people, attention to detail and meticulousness are important,
  • Independence – they can make decisions and implement actions leading to the achievement of established results, in which they do not need the support of others,
  • great organization – they are distinguished by excellent management of their own time. They can effectively prioritize tasks and focus on the most important and urgent activities. They use various types of time management techniques (such as scheduling, delegating and eliminating distractions) to maintain above-average productivity.

    Why can managing such employees pose a challenge?

    Management can be difficult for leaders mainly because of the expectations placed on companies by such individuals – especially in terms of working conditions and development opportunities. After all, highly effective employees may demand more from a leader than those focusing only on doing their jobs properly.

    It is also important to ensure that above-average levels of engagement are maintained at all times, in which the leader plays an important role – providing appropriate challenges, rewarding achievements and creating an environment conducive to development. Moreover, there may be conflicts within the team and reluctance on the part of others to work with such individuals, which the leader will also have to deal with. Leaders must skillfully manage the dynamics to maintain cooperation and balance in the team.

    How to manage highly effective employees? 5 practical tips

    Effective management of highly effective employees provides the company with such benefits as higher productivity, better relations with partners or customers, increased competitiveness and improved retention, among others. To achieve such a result, it is necessary to take advantage of the potential that characterizes them by setting ambitious goals and providing the right conditions for achieving the desired results. The most important issues to keep in mind in this regard are outlined below.

    1. Set clear goals

      One of the critical factors in managing above-average people is to clearly define goals – in a specific, measurable, achievable and timely manner (according to the SMART method). Employees need to know exactly what is expected of them and what results their actions will lead to. Regularly monitoring progress and providing feedback helps keep the people hired on the path to success.

    2. Make sure you have access to the right resources

      Highly effective employees need the right tools, technology and resources to perform their jobs effectively. Providing them with technical support, training and access to the necessary tools and information is key to maintaining above-average performance levels. So it’s worthwhile to go out on your own in this regard, looking for solutions that can help them perform their daily duties.

    3. Delegate responsibility

      For this type of person, the tendency is characteristic not only to take responsibility for their tasks but also to take initiative, leading to very positive results for the company. So allow them to make decisions on their own within their area of operation, in line with the concept of empowerment. Allowing them to develop their ideas can benefit both the employees (satisfaction with working conditions, willingness to stay in such a place for a long time) and the organization (creating new solutions, and working for the success of the organization).

    4. Take care of professional development

      Highly effective employees have a strong intrinsic motivation to continuously develop and improve their skills – and leaders should support this desire. They can provide them with opportunities for personal and professional development through training, mentoring programs, conference attendance and development projects, among others. Doing so not only increases their productivity and effectiveness but also helps keep them engaged and motivated at work.

    5. Maintain work-life balance

      It is also relevant for highly efficient employees that they are more prone to burnout than those working at a “standard pace.” Leaders should therefore promote healthy work habits and encourage work-life balance. After all, the constant workload they tend to have can result in decreased productivity even for this type of person.

    Highly effective employees

    Highly effective employees – summary

    In today’s highly dynamic and competitive business environment, the key to success is to skillfully manage and utilize the full potential of the people you employ – especially those with high-performance characteristics. Follow our advice and you’ll surely make it. Still, remember to try to recognize and meet the individual needs of this type of people (especially in terms of development). Leading highly effective employees requires, above all, flexibility and openness to the potential of the workers. Only then, you’ll then build the necessary trust among your team members.

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    Author: Caroline Becker

    As a Project Manager, Caroline is an expert in finding new methods to design the best workflows and optimize processes. Her organizational skills and ability to work under time pressure make her the best person to turn complicated projects into reality.