High performance isn’t low maintenance (Guest commentary)

But these employees are well worth the extra effort
By Jill Malleck
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 11/16/2006

Everyone wants to be seen as a high performer at work. After all, they get the most generous pay increases and the first chance at promotion.

The confusion begins when you try to sort out the truth about what high performance looks like. The behaviours associated with performance include creativity, innovation, risk-taking and initiative. But managing an employee with these attributes takes more of a leader’s time and skill. Employees are catching on that what they think of as high performance can also get them labelled as high maintenance.

Overworked managers don’t have time to deal with the spontaneity and surprises that top-notch thinkers exhibit. They want low-maintenance employees. Inside traditional hierarchical organizations, high performance means doing the work the boss assigns and creating as little stir as possible.