High-Performing Individuals on a Poor-Performing Team

Learn how to identify high-performing individuals and strategies for helping them improve.

As with the poor performer on the high-performing team, don’t leap to any immediate conclusions about who the high performer on the poor-performing team is. That one developer who’s constantly early on their stories? They could be sandbagging their estimates to make themselves look good. The developer who’s constantly talking about all the new things they’re learning? They may not actually be quite as comfortable with that new technology as they claim, or they may be learning the new stuff mostly so they can stand on the sidelines and nitpick decisions by claiming that “If only we’d adopt X, we’d be so much better off…”

Instead, your high performers are often the ones who not only display high degrees of skill in the skills relevant to the team’s current task set, but also have a high degree of “will.” What is their willingness to perform well? Be careful not to judge them just by the words they throw at you, but the actual actions to back those words up. Actions speak louder than words. If they’re always first to volunteer to take on a task (even one so pedestrian as sweeping the floors), yet always get their assigned work done as well, they’re demonstrating the will to succeed. Those with high “will” are also the ones who won’t stop at the first obstacle, but look for ways around blockers before giving up.

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