Care and Feeding of Top Performers

Last Updated Jan 3, 2008 9:05 AM EST

Care and Feeding of Top PerformersAs most managers know, mediocre and poor employees take up most of your time. Your great performers -- well it's easy to let them do their thing without much guidance. A boat on a steady heading doesn't need much work at the helm.

Or does it? A hands-off approach won't keep your stars happy, argues business consultant Marshall Goldsmith in this recent post on Harvard Business.

The key is giving your high achievers the right kind of feedback. Provide them challenges and growth opportunities. Express to them honestly the real value they bring to the party. Be honest about future opportunities.

F. Scott Fitzgerald said, "The rich, they're different from you and me." In a way, star performers are different, too, and their managers must be sensitive in their approach.

For more on managing stars, see:

Recruiting Star Performers in the War for Talent The Key to Managing Stars? Think Team
(Star image by Patty_Colmer, CC 2.0)

  • Sean Silverthorne

    Sean Silverthorne is the editor of HBS Working Knowledge, which provides a first look at the research and ideas of Harvard Business School faculty. Working Knowledge, which won a Webby award in 2007, currently records 4 million unique visitors a year. He has been with HBS since 2001.

    Silverthorne has 28 years experience in print and online journalism. Before arriving at HBS, he was a senior editor at CNET and executive editor of ZDNET News. While at At Ziff-Davis, Silverthorne also worked on the daily technology TV show The Site, and was a senior editor at PC Week Inside, which chronicled the business of the technology industry. He has held several reporting and editing roles on a variety of newspapers, and was Investor Business Daily's first journalist based in Silicon Valley.