How To Handle A Toxic High Performer

How To Handle Toxic High Performers

Q: How Do I Handle A Toxic High Performer?

A: Trick question. High performers who lack teamwork skills (or effort) are a common problem for leaders. But much of the problem stems from a misconception that one can excel in their role without effectively collaborating with their team. Contrary to this belief, the reality is that almost every job today is a team endeavor. The idea that someone can be considered a top performer while failing to contribute positively to team dynamics is misleading. It’s a false dichotomy between individual achievement and team synergy.

Addressing this issue requires a two-pronged approach. The first step is to redefine what it means to be a “high performer.” It’s crucial to communicate that true high performance is not just about individual achievements but also includes being a proactive and constructive team player. This redefinition helps set clear expectations and standards for what is valued and rewarded within the team.

The second step involves identifying and communicating the specific behaviors that exemplify good teamwork. This clarity allows the individual in question to understand precisely what is expected of them in terms of contributing to a positive team environment. High performers, by their nature, are driven to meet and exceed expectations. By clearly outlining what those expectations are, in terms of team engagement and support, you provide them with a roadmap to not only achieve individual success but to enhance their role within the team significantly.

Ultimately, the goal is to guide high performers to understand that their individual success is intrinsically linked to the success of their team. By doing so, they can shift their focus from solely achieving personal milestones to also uplifting their team, thereby becoming invaluable members of the workforce.


About the author

David Burkus is an organizational psychologist, keynote speaker, and bestselling author of five books on leadership and teamwork.

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