Blanchard & Walker Weekly

Topic of the Week  Win-Win: Managing Top Performers:

Most leaders adhere to a simple management philosophy, focus on the squeaky wheels at work. Yep, the slackers and troublemakers get all of our attention. We usually leave the great performers to their own devices. What a huge mistake. Which reminds me of a plan by the Webster, MA health board to shame owners of rundown buildings in the city. The Health Board wants to place a 4 x 8 foot sign on the sides of dilapidated buildings with the owner's name, address and telephone number.
We'll see how the billboards work, but if history is any guide, guilt and shame is effective. Heck, it worked with me when I was a kid. But when it comes to managing your top performers, you need to adopt a different approach, one that is focused on recognition and rewards. Most people in leadership struggle with the good cop role, because we're all so used to the bad cop part. Check out my three do's and one don't below. For more, check out Donna Deeprose's book, "How to Recognize and Reward Employees" (Amacom, 2007).
Do let them choose their projects. 3M and Google are two companies that have a reputation for giving employees paid time to work on their pet projects. I'm fascinated that more companies haven't figured this out. It's not only a great way to get new entrepreneurial projects, it's a great way to motivate your most creative employees. Again, I'm not necessarily suggesting that everyone gets a long leash in your company, just the people who've proven that they've earned it.
Do let employees learn new skills. Most employers focus on the jobs that employees are currently doing. They don't put nearly enough attention to letting their top performers grow and add on new skills. If there is one hallmark of a top performer, they usually are curious and want to learn. So it makes a lot of sense to create learning opportunities for them at work. Ironically, this all can only benefit your company, yet few organizations put much effort into developing new skills and expertise in their people.
Do let them lead cross-functional teams. Your employees can't help you, if you don't help your employees to develop their leadership skills. Intradepartment projects are a good place to start. But it's even better to put your employees in charge of teams that have a wide variety of skills and departments represented.
Don't hog all the visibility. This is one of the greatest gifts you can give to a person who works for you, to let them fill in for you at executive meetings. It's free, makes them feel like a million bucks and can give them important connections that they can use to help your cause down the road. Yet most managers insist on attending meetings on their own. Also in this same vein, look for every opportunity to give your people credit for great work.
Follow these tips and your employees won't get all rundown at work. They'll be totally motivated and producing great results.

Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via

Thought of the Week

"Genius does what it must, talent does what it can"

–Edward Bulwer-Lytton

Blog of the Week

Top Five News Headlines

    List of the Week

    from Phone it in…Communications and today's workplace

    • Flexible and remote work environments have become commonly accepted and are important for hiring and productivity, with 62% of firms now allowing remote workers.
    • Remote workers are spending, on average, 40% of their time away from their office.
    • Of workers who use video, 68% reported experiencing richer and more productive communication with colleagues, clients and suppliers
    • The communications tool that is expected to have the biggest gain in usage next year is video calling.


    • Working off the Clock – Alro Steel FLSA Overtime Pay Lawsuit May 30, 2022

      Federal Court Orders Notice to Alro Steel Employees in Nationwide Overtime Lawsuit

      Blanchard & Walker sent the court approved notice to 2500+ Alro Steel employees who may have a right to seek recover for off-the-clock uncompensated time at Alro Steel facilities throughout the country. Federal District Court Judge Murphy for the Eastern District of Michigan, granted conditional certification and ordered notice of FLSA rights to opt-in for current and former warehouse employees of Alro Steel Corporation. (more…)

    • The End of Forced Arbitration for Survivors of Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment March 8, 2022

      On March 3, 2022, President Biden signed the Ending Forced Arbitration of Sexual Assault & Sexual Harassment Act. This law is one significant step forward in the fight to end arbitration contracts that deny access to the Courts for violations of fundamental workplace rights.

      For far too long, countless survivors, workers, and consumers have been silenced by forced arbitration. (more…)


      News Update: Promised Waivers fall short.  According to recent reporting, the waiver program was much smaller than promised.  Although waivers for 55,000 more claimants is a good step forward, it fell short of the 382,000 promised and as of May 12, 2022 there is still no explanation about when or if more will be coming.