Stars vs. Worker Bees
Imagine it’s Monday morning and you walk into your department, look around and see only top-performing ‘star’ employees sitting at their desks. You smile to yourself and say, “I’m so lucky to have all stars.” You know the production in your department will be the best in the company…because you have all ‘stars.’ It will make your life so much easier.
Would all ‘stars’ be the perfect solution to managing employees and raising the productivity of your department?
What is a ‘star’? Each manager will have a different take but ‘stars’ usually elicit the following attributes: drive, entrepreneurship, desire to learn, ability to set and implement goals. They take action. They move mountains to get the job done. Who wouldn’t want this type of employee?
A ‘star’ adds strength to the company, and yet they have their quirks or needs. As a manager, you are responsible for keeping them focused and satisfied with their roles within the company. Some issues that you may face in managing ‘stars’ is they may not be team players, they do demand challenging work, require more recognition of their contributions, and question you more on your decisions. It’s not to say these behaviors are wrong, but rather you need to actively manage your ‘star’s strengths and expectations.
What about the ‘worker bee?’ “Worker bees’ are strong performers. They show up each day, perform at a quality level, and keep the wheels of the infrastructure moving forward. They check all the little details and perform all the core functions within the company. A ‘worker bee’ isn’t less important than a ‘star’, but rather an employee with different strengths and skills. Their strengths are usually tenacity, consistency, team players and a willingness to learn and contribute. The strong performer may not be as creative or have quite the same drive as the top performer, but they contribute significantly to the success of the company.
If you want to be successful as a manager, you have to respect your employees. A well run department includes both types of employees because they are both integral in meeting high performance levels. In managing employees, it’s important to bring your stars and worker bees together. Help them build mutual respect for each other. Don’t allow favoritism to interfere with your ability to manage all employees. They each bring important strengths to the table and need to be recognized accordingly.
Come Monday ask yourself:
- Who are my top performers (stars) and who are my strong performers (worker bees)?
- What can I do today to bring these two different types of employees together so they can support each other?
The ‘art’ of managing employees is always looking for new possibilities to maximize your team’s individual strengths and department productivity.
Managing Your Boss
The Three Laws of Performance: Rewriting the Future of Your Organization and Your Life by Steve Zaffron and Dave Logan