High Maintenance Employees
If you manage a team, you will at some point have a “high maintenance” employee you will need to deal with. If they contribute to the overall success of the team, your time is well spent. If they do not contribute to the team, your attention is wasted, and could be more wisely spent in other areas. So how do you handle these situations? I would put most “high maintenance” people into a few categories, and handle each a little differently.
The first category is High Maintenance, High Performer. This type of person will contribute a great deal to the overall success of the team, but needs a significant amount of your time and attention to do so. They may require constant feedback on their contributions, or they may need your guidance more often than the average team member. The High Maintenance, High Performing person is usually very focused on their goals, and expects the same from those around them. Thus, you may spend a large amount of your time “smoothing over” some of the conversations this person has with others. All in all, because they are performing well, you will need to determine if the positives out weigh the negatives. Many times sales managers have this issue with one of their sales people. They may be the best on the team, but may not follow the rules and rarely gets along with others. You have two choices, continue to spend the time with this person, or make a decision that the benefits do not exceed the “cost”, and make a change.
The second category is High Maintenance, Low Performer. If you find that you spend more of your time with someone, AND they are on the lower end of the performance scale, you need to act now. This one does not deserve much of our time to discuss. Why would you keep a poor performer around anyway, but especially if they are high maintenance? Discuss, document, and discharge (another article all together)!!
The third category you may have is Low Maintenance, High Performer. This one is simple, keep them!. One word of caution, be 100% sure they are “low maintenance”, don’t assume. If you have a high performer, you need to keep them happy. Just because this person may not be in your office every 10 minutes or sending you 10 emails each day, doesn’t mean they do not require attention from you. The only way to know is to conduct regular one on one meeting with this person, and over time you will be sure.
The last category is Low Maintenance, Low Performer. Do I really need to tell you what to do with these team members? Find them a position that is a better fit, or get them out of your organization. Even though you are spending little time with this person, they are taking a position that could be filled by a high performer. (Read the “3D” article on how to get them out).
So take some time and list out who you spend the most time with. Then, place them in one of the categories above to determine what you should be doing with them. Remember, no matter which category you put them in, they may not be a positive contributor, and you may be better of without them.