Over-performers, know what makes them tick
My client graduated with the highest honors, and moved up the corporate ladder quickly, and accepted, or should I say was deceived, many large responsibilities through different assignments. Within a couple of years, she was, at the age of 26, advising the board. She was, in everyone's estimation, an "A player"—one of the gifted and productive employees. She consistently overperformed, and her boss said she did great work. She though worked harder and harder. But although she received many compliments, she missed a non-judgemental mentor to learn from. She felt under-appreciated and stressed almost leading to a burn-out. She was already looking for another job. Through coaching, she got an insight that it is not the job but that she is striving to satisfy an inner need for recognition based on low self-esteem. She was working extrinsically instead of intrinsically driven. Certainly, managers aren't therapists or executive coaches, and they don't have to be. But it will help managers if you try to understand what makes these employers tick. If we do not carefully manage the often-unconscious needs of these over-performers for appreciation, they will bum out in a way that is damaging to themselves and unproductive for the company.