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Replacing a Missing Star

Sometimes if you scratch beneath the surface of a good team, you may find that team performance depends upon the efforts of one or two high achievers. That may be okay for the short term but what happens when one or two of those stars move on? What does the manager do next? First look to the team. Ask for the members of the team to step up. One or more of them may be your future stars. Here are some suggestions.

Sometimes if you scratch beneath the surface of a good team,
you may find that team performance depends upon the efforts of one or two high
achievers. That may be okay for the short term but what happens when one or two
of those stars move on?

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What does the manager do next?

First look to the team. Ask for the members of the team to
step up. One or more of them may be your future stars. Here are some
suggestions.

Face reality. Losing a star is different than losing
a middle of the road performer. Stars pick up the slack as well as pace others.
And as mentioned, they sometimes set the right example for others to emulate.
Most importantly, they contribute more to the work flow, either in tangible
terms such as sales or intangible terms such as teaching and coaching peers. A
manager who ignores this loss risks losing the faith of those left behind. Be
honest about the loss.

Invite suggestions. Ask others what they can do to
pick up the slack. Hold one on one conversations with individuals as well as a
group discussion with the team. Challenge the team to come up with three ways
to make up for the loss in performance. Focus on specifics of what individuals
must do. Improvements may include more training as well as hiring another
person. But it also must begin with individual efforts, too. Don’t let
individuals off the hook.

Make the opportunity
real
. Talk about how the loss
opens the door for others to excel and in turn receive greater levels of
recognition and reward. Make it clear that you are not looking for someone who
does whatever the former star did. Rather compliment the talents of the people
you have and ask them to find ways to do what they do best.

True enough, just as cream rises to the top, good performers
will find center stage. Soon enough one of your players, either from your
existing pool or one who is added, will be become the new king pin. When that
occurs, do not wait till she leaves before you take advantage of her talents.
For example, assign her to spend time with an underperformer. Invite her to
share her talents and insights with the other person.

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This way you will be preparing the way for future high
performers to make their mark now and in the future.

John Baldoni is an
internationally recognized leadership development consultant, executive coach,
author, and speaker. In 2010, Top Leadership Gurus named John one of the world’s
top 25 leadership experts. John’s newest book is
12
Steps to Power Presence: How to Assert Your Authority to Lead
.(Amacom 2010). Readers are welcome to visit John’s Web site, www.johnbaldoni.com