What Leaders Can Do About The Widening Performance Gap

When crisis strikes and the workload increases, your A Players are often the first to step up and take on the challenge.

This is a wonderful trait to have, as we need great leadership in tough times. And yet, there can be a dark side to this behavior. There is such a thing as too much for too long.

Watch this video to learn more about the performance gap that’s been increasing recently, and what you as a leader can do about it.

Some of the coaches and consultants I know report seeing a widening gap between the A players and the B players on many teams since we all started working from home remotely. In today’s video, I discuss the impact this can have on a team as well as what to do about it. Hi, I’m Kristin Jekielek, creator of Resilient Productivity.

The A players differentiate themselves by the results that they produce, and this is because they tend to possess a few key traits. They tend to be more resilient, adaptable, and productive in the face of adversity.

Now what this means is that when times get challenging, your A Players are the people who step up and display the most leadership. They’re the first ones to shoulder more of the workload that’s appeared, they’re also able to respond to the changing circumstances a lot faster, and get back to their highly productive routines, without too much support and oversight.

Now, these are wonderful traits to possess, obviously for the employer as well as for the top-performer, but there is a shadow side to these traits that’s emerging as people are beginning to work from home full-time for the first time.

What’s happening is that these top performers often have increased responsibilities, often times work is putting more pressure on people to do more work to help keep the business afloat, to help keep cash flow steady, to help execute on more work. In addition, there may be additional responsibilities placed on that person at-home, especially if they have children who are school age right now.

These increased responsibilities lead to less sleep, many high performers are sleeping even less now than they used to, and the fact is as much as we wish we were robots who could just plug-in and recharge our batteries, we’re not there yet. For now we need enough quality sleep in order to preserve our mental abilities, as well as to preserve our bodies for high productivity in the long term. So, as high performers are sleeping less over a longer period of time, we’re going to start seeing more burnout, which means lost productivity.

These high performers are also under more stress because of the increased responsibilities, and also because it can feel like so much more is at-stake right now, with the state of the economy, and the state of business today.

So, because of this extra pressure, they actually need more time for recovery, they need more rest in their lives, and that’s harder to accomplish as the boundaries between work and life have blurred, and these high performers are finding themselves spending more and more time working than ever before. This can actually lead to turnover. Beyond burnout, some of these high performers also have a very strong drive for self-preservation, and at some point – with too little sleep and stress too high for too long – there’s going to be a breaking point they’re going to face, and that can mean a prolonged time off, it could mean leaving the job altogether for another lower stress, lower stakes career. A third factor to consider is that the A players know that they’ve taken on a greater proportion of the work during these times, and some of them may begin to feel resentful at this, that they’re shouldering so much more work than the B and C players on the team.

Now, this doesn’t mean that they’re lazy or spoiled or complainers, it’s a very real concern that they aren’t seeing a commensurate increase in the rewards that they’re receiving. If it feels like they have to run faster and harder just to stay in place, it’s going to create emotional tension that they’re going to want to relieve at some point.

So, my tip for you today, if you’re a manager of a team where you’ve noticed this widening gap between the A players and your B players, it’s to reach out to your A players today and let them know that you’re here for them.

Acknowledge everything that they’ve been doing to keep the company going. Acknowledge the hardships that this may be causing them, let them know that you are genuinely here for them today and in the future to help keep them able-bodied, feeling great and productive, and ensuring the company’s success, as well as helping them ensure their own livelihood and career for the long term. That kind of support goes a very long way.

Now, if you aren’t able to be there for them time-wise as much as you would like to be across the coming months, that’s the perfect opportunity to bring in a coach, someone who knows how to work with high performers to keep them resilient and productive for the long term.

Now, that’s exactly what I offer.

I would love to talk to you about my B2B coaching program, the results we can get, what that looks like, and also how we ensure employee privacy around any issues that they’re facing personally without having to expose that in a group coaching setting. You can contact me directly using the form below, and we’ll get a time setup to talk more.

Thanks so much for watching, and I’ll see you next time.

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