You’ve hired some amazing talent to take you to the top – but how do you manage them?

A common goal in business is to put together a team of superstars, you look to hire in the best professionals and you want them to deliver amazing things for you. This is often even more true in smaller entrepreneurial or owner-managed businesses where they will hire high performers or experts as they don’t have the infrastructure or time to develop the skills themselves. 

Makes sense – I mean who wouldn’t want the best of the best working for them? But, and it’s quite a big but, it can cause difficulties as some superstars have a problem working in teams or collaboratively. Sooner or later their ego’s will come out to play and things can get a bit petty, like who has the best car or gets paid the most. These frictions can and do restrict progress and can actually stop team projects achieving anything at all. 

So what’s the answer? Where possible I would always recommend creating teams from people who understand the value of teamwork and are prepared to sacrifice their own ego for the good of the team however that is not always possible and you have to find ways to get the most from your high performers. 

Here are my top tips for getting your team of superstars to work together well:

Ground rules 

with such high levels of ego, it is easy for misunderstandings to blow out of proportion so it is crucial that ground rules are agreed within the team. Simple things like acceptable conduct, use of phones in meetings and everyone is heard and should contribute to discussions.  Make sure that everyone has signed up to those rules and that they know how and who to raise any issues they may have. Encourage as many communication streams as possible and make sure that the whole team meet regularly as one to make sure that issues are aired early and are not allowed to fester. Spend time together

Getting to know each other is  a great way to break down barriers. This isn’t  just about going to the pub every Friday or going on a golfing weekend or spa day, it is also about working together and finding projects where there are more opportunities to work together and support each other. With more opportunities to work together the more trust in and respect for each other, they will build. 

This will also increase their empathy for each other and the challenges they each face. Empathy is a key leadership skill and one that superstars looking to progress will do well to develop.

Be clear about who does what

Knowing who does what and where responsibility and accountability lies are key to creating strong teamwork. We have all been in that meeting where the problem is bounced around the room and no-one claims ownership of it. When people are clear on what they need to achieve and what their responsibilities are they are happy to be held accountable – if the lines are blurred then conflicts and avoidance of responsibility will appear. As a team, there will be one overriding objective but each team member or player will have their individual objectives and role to play. And as we are dealing with superstars with superstar ego’s it helps to keep them out of each others way.

Challenge them

At the end of the day, you wouldn’t send the Avengers to get a cat down from a tree so it is important that you respect the talents of your superstars and provide them with ample opportunity to stretch themselves and continue to grow. Create special projects and collaborations and allow them to express their creativity, they want to fly so you need to let them. Even superstars need to feel appreciated and to understand how they are making a difference and feel valued within the business so make sure they are praised, rewarded or recognised for those achievements. 

Remember why you hired them

Much is written about culture and how important it is within a company. What if your new superstars don’t fit with the existing culture? 

I have had MD’s complain that their new superstar just doesn’t get it and needs to adapt but I will always ask them to consider why they hired them and what they wanted them to bring to the business. Often it is the very thing they hired them for that is causing the problem. You need to respect the talent and they need to respect the culture and then you can work together to make it work.

Leading a team of superstars is not easy, they will need more of your energy and enthusiasm but hopefully, with some of these tips, you can get them working together and delivering the results you are looking for.

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