A meme that I ran across this morning on several blogs was “should top performers work alone.”
The answer is, well, it depends.
In the short term, you will always get measurably better results if your best performers can do what they do best – peform. Clear away the B.S., leave the hand holding and time wasting to lesser contributors.
This works great… until the “indispensible man” is dispensed with by life in the form of an accident, a family emergency / tragedy, or a better offer at a different company.
In the longer term, a team of lesser performers will benefit by having access to the top performers, albeit at the expense of being able to move projects along as quickly by working through groupthink rather than executing at warp speed. And your risk of having things completely grind to a halt when Mr. or Ms. Can’t-Live-Without is out of the picture is mitigated when they are not the only holder to the keys of your particular kingdom.
But let’s face it – your mediocre employees and contributors, in the majority, will never rise above a certain performance level. There is a “sweet spot” of indifference vs. motivation that every company, leader, and manager has always striven to identify and exploit so that maximum productivity can be (at least, theoretically) achieved – but rarely attained.
So, my answer to “should top performers work alone” is – absolutely yes. You as a manager or boss are not so talented as to really believe that you can * coach * personal motivation. Sure, your attitude can positively or negatively affect your reports and star producers. But whatever you did (or didn’t do) had zero affect on making your superstars SUPERSTARS.
In short, exploit and utilize these high performers while you can. Because soon, they will either be your boss or your competitor, but they will definitely not be your subordinate forever.
Spread the knowledge, but don’t “coach down / dumb down” your top talent to try and mistakenly raise the overall talent level of your “team.”