Your team is likely to have its fair share of both stars and strugglers. Obviously the golden rule in managing them is this: managing them. Depending on your own interests and instincts, training and experience, you might be inclined to leave one of these categories to their own devices. Stars can see to themselves, can’t they? As for strugglers, what will be will be? Nope. You must engage. And that includes with everyone in the middle ground too! Here are a few ideas for how to manage all of them:
Don’t give special treatment
It’s crucial to avoid singling out individuals whether they are a star or a struggler. Try not to have more impromptu catch-ups with them than you do with anyone else. Team members might be engrossed in work at their desks, but they notice when others are called away.
Always focus on improvement
However well a team member is doing, or however much they are struggling, the main focus in appraisals should be on improvement. But tailor this to the individual’s particular situation: what would represent the next step for him/her?
Autonomy for all
For a star, autonomy can let them express themselves, and hopefully they will open doors you didn’t even know were there. For strugglers, autonomy shows faith. Moreover, one trap that strugglers can fall into is not believing they are capable. This is self-perpetuating. Spoon-feed them and it’ll only get worse. Autonomy is empowering.
Be careful in meetings
You’re scanning the room for a response during a meeting. Use mindfulness techniques to ensure you stay on top of your tension. Otherwise you might find your eyes flit more regularly than they should to the star, while the struggler receives short shrift.