How Do You Handle High Performers Who Don’t Get Along Well With Teammates?
August 13, 2019
By Jim Clark, PhD – Director of Student Sidelines LLC © 2019

Without knowing more particulars, my observation involves treating the person like a thoroughbred horse. The management research Albrecht did some interesting research on factors contributing to work excellence. In particular he studied people’s orientations toward: achievement, affiliation, and power.

What he learned was that people who had high needs for achievement, moderate needs for affiliation, and low needs for power, often produced the best results for the organization.

Specifically, people who pursue achievement more than anything can and will produce amazing results - not so different than a thoroughbred horse that wants to run fast, without being whipped. So high performance people are to be treasured because they make big things happen.

That said, Albrecht found that people in the organization who have high needs for power, invariably make things worse over time - often by adversely impacting the motivation of others. Power hungry people tend to cause trouble. If they are also high achievers, they can cause a lot of trouble. If the high performing person being referred to by the question asker has high needs for power, then you really have to pull tight on their reins to keep them from hurting themselves and others.

Lastly, Albrecht would say that if your high performer has low needs for affiliation, you need to find ways of structuring processes [especially team meetings] so everyone has near equal opportunities to be heard and assurance that they are heard before decisions are made.
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