When High Achievers Get Stuck

16.03.20 05:30 PM
Many high achievers are great at setting goals. On the outside, they appear invincible, strong, dependable, powerful and successful. Somewhat like superheroes. They set goals and smash them, making it all seem effortless. High achievers seem to be able to accomplish more in a day than the rest of us. They put pressure on themselves to perform and they don’t even know what a comfort zone is. 

If you are wondering if you have high achievers on your team, then here are some criteria:

  • They get assigned difficult challenges ahead of your peers
  • They strive to be the best at everything you do
  • They volunteer or ask to be assigned to challenging projects
  • They are usually promoted more rapidly than your peers
  • They’ve established and achieved major goals, both personally and professionally
  • People recognise them as the “go-to” person
  • They’ve often received formal recognition or awards

Most crave having high achievers on their team, as they seem like the most motivated, disciplined and committed people. This may be true, and there is also a dark side to being a high achiever. While it may seem like high achievers never get stuck, they sometimes do. And when this happens, they will often be compelled to suffer alone. They have an overwhelming need to prove that they can do it by themselves. They put high expectations on themselves and based on their past successes believe they should be able to push through things when the going gets tough. This can have catastrophic results. They could burn out, or the project they are working on could fail, or they could let their entire team down. All these consequences would be unfathomable to a high achiever. 

We all know that the most successful people have supporters on their side at every level of their journey. Even more so when they are going through big changes and they are in new territory. High achievers soon learn that they can’t do it alone. So what should you do if you have high achievers on your team? How can you help them get unstuck?

Resist the urge to put them on a pedestal all the time

First of all, high achievers need to be helped to recognise that despite being superheroes, they are also human. They are emotional beings with feelings like everyone else. High achievers need to know that they have the support and have a safe environment to discuss their pressures without feeling like failures. If you tend to put your high achievers on show all the time, you may risk making them feel like they don’t have room to fail or ask for help. You want to create a relationship with your high achievers that allows them to speak to you when they are stuck. 

Discuss their wins AND their failures

We so often talk up high achievers and their wins. Yet it’s important to allow high achievers to reflect on their failures in a non-judgemental and learning way. As their leader, you can support their growth and allow them to see failure as a natural part of goal chasing. 

Encourage them to have mentors

Exceptional business people and athletes don’t achieve their success alone. They have mentors, coaches and a support team. Mentors can help you high achievers see things differently and help them get unstuck. They will help clear the fog, relieve the pressure and help them be superheroes once more. 

Consider finding them a coach
People come to coaching for several reasons. Most people consider getting a coach (or their team a coach) when they feel like there are problems to be addressed. But coaches can be more than that. Coaches are great sounding boards for when you are stuck. They help people consider their options and find a way forward. Regular coaching for a high achiever is a great way to develop their leadership skills and encourage them to ask for help. 

Even superheroes need sidekicks

Consider pairing high achievers in your team with work buddies so that they can work on projects together. Do this wisely, as high achievers tend to take over and do it themselves. Encourage teamwork and pick buddies that complement their strengths so that they need to depend on each other to succeed. 

If you are a high achiever, consider asking your manager for the support I have mentioned. The main lesson here is that everyone gets stuck at some point. Even the best of us. And we all need a little help sometimes. 

If you or a member of your team would like to explore coaching with me, book a free consultation today!

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