“Appraisals are where you get together with your team leader and agree what an outstanding member of the team you are, how much your contribution has been valued, what massive potential you have, and in recognition of this, would you mind having your salary halved?” – Theodore Roosevelt
One thing I hear from leaders without exception (because it’s true) is how important their people are. If I’m speaking to a business leader somewhere and things are going well, they almost always point out that a primary reason for their success is what great people they have, and how they’ve really got a good team, and how all their people are engaged and really doing well. If things aren’t going well, they almost always point out that they’re having problems with their people, and can’t find enough good people, and can’t get people engaged, etc.
The purpose of this post isn’t to talk about all of your people. It’s specifically to talk about your best people. The ones who really ‘get it’, who are great at not only the technical part of the job, but the softer skills as well. The ones who are really driving whatever’s great about your business.
How do you treat those people? What I really mean to say is, do you treat them like everyone else? Or are you doing something extra for them? There are a lot of leaders I work with that are really nice people. Part of them being nice people seems to them to mean that you have to treat everyone the same. “It wouldn’t be fair to give Jim this when Bob doesn’t get the same thing,” they’ll say. It happens all the time and it’s absolutely wrong.
Treating people ‘the same’ is only the right idea if the people are actually ‘the same’. And they aren’t. There isn’t a one-size-fits-all method of dealing with your people. They’re all individuals and need to be treated that way.
So what extra thing are you doing for your best people? What are you doing in terms of their development? What are you doing in terms of their own vision for their career? What are you doing in terms of their pay or job responsibilities or anything else that’s part of what they do for you? If you can’t specifically say how you’re treating your best people differently, then you’re not doing it, and they’ll notice – and most likely, they’ll be gone.
Sit down and make a list of your most critical people. Then write down what you’re going to do for each of them in the next 90 days that will let them know how valuable they are and will make them even more valuable to you.
All your people matter – but some stand out. Treat them that way.