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The secret to effective management is finding the best in each of your employees and using it to everyone’s advantage. This involves leading a myriad of personality types and individuals. The old cliché rings true: It takes all kinds to make a world – or in this case, a workplace.

With this in mind, how do you best manage over and underachievers? Often, employees on the extreme ends of the achievement spectrum simply need a little extra guidance in order to maximize their potential.

Overachievers.

  • Take on extra tasks without being asked, go beyond the boundaries of their job description and may become overly concerned with accomplishing tasks on or ahead of deadline.
  • Often avoid working in teams or don’t take the time to follow basic processes or job functions.
  • May forget to communicate information, take short cuts or leave job details to others.
  • May take unnecessary risks and don’t stay in one place – or one position – for very long.

Underachievers.

  • May not truly understand the requirements and expectations of their jobs. And this may not be their fault. Perhaps they didn’t get the orientation or training they needed, or they simply need a refresher on what they need to accomplish.
  • May not have the resources they need to do their best work.
  • May have distractions that keep them from performing at peak level.

Help Them Succeed.
Chances are, you can identify both the over and underachievers on your team. Once this is done, your job as manager is to help them achieve their personal best.

Managing Overachievers.

  • Learn what motivates them. Completing tasks above and beyond expectations gives them a “high.” But, this sensation can be harder to come by as time goes on, so they may not be comfortable in one position for more than a few years. Be aware of this and keep them constantly challenged.
  • Give them a flexible environment. This includes involving them in planning and decision making whenever possible.
  • Provide emotional coaching. They may not seem to need a pat on the back, but they’ll respect you more if you acknowledge them. They may get bogged down in details, so they appreciate a manager who motivates, sets goals and provides solid direction.

Maximize Results With Underachievers.

  • Ask them to list their job duties. This will clear up any misunderstandings about expectations and give you an opportunity to take corrective measures.
  • Inquire about personal distractions that may hinder performance. When you ask, be supportive, but don’t pry. Asking specific questions about personal matters can lead to employment discrimination claims. But you need to understand the situation – and provide reasonable time off to deal with it, if necessary.
  • Monitor their achievement. Meet with underachievers frequently and keep communication lines open. Reward progress and provide constructive suggestions.

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