Are Your People Rockstars or Superstars?

Radical Candor - Managing for a positive employee attitude

Managing to create positive employee attitudes

In her wonderful book Radical Candor, Kim Scott tells a story about building teams at Apple. As she was developing her people, Kim focused on those most likely to be promoted. A leader at Apple told her all teams need stability as well as growth to succeed.  Nothing works if everyone is trying to get promoted. The leader referred to the excellent positive employees she had who were on a more gradual, steady growth track as "rock stars" because they were stable like the Rock of Gibraltar.  These people loved their work and were happy with what they did. In contrast, those positive employees who were upwardly mobile, fast tracking, were called "superstars."  So everyone ended up being valued for their traits and was a star of sorts.

Cultivating a Team of All Star Positive Employees

Acknowledge specific achievements of rock stars as well as superstars.  In most companies, it's the superstars who get all the glory.  Even out the balance and give very specific public praise to both groups of positive employees.

Don't focus on promotions.  Focus on achievements and when someone does get promoted, be clear whether their job is changing and what the new responsibilities are.

Be transparent about your mistakes. Encourage others to be open about theirs.  It's much easier to fix a problem early on than later.

Spend 1-1 time with each employee and find out what their dreams, life experiences, and previous jobs have been.  You can learn a great deal.  Ask this key question: "What skills or talents do you have that are not being currently used here?

Give them autonomy with guidance. All humans crave autonomy.

Truly listen to your people.

Keep your agreements.  Be a walking example of integrity.

Don't ask for input unless you really want it.  Never accept the first answer- keep digging and you'll come up with gold.

Your people are the key to success in any organization.  Honor them for who they are and encourage them.  They will reward you with excellent work and great ideas.

"A workplace filled and driven by employees with positive attitudes vibrates continually to the tune of service excellence and passionate team success." Ty Howard


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