Dealing With Overachieving Employees

On the other end of the spectrum from underperforming employees are the overachievers who won’t quit, even when they should. This can be anyone from an older employee on the verge of retirement to the eager new hire who’s a perfectionist. Some managers may consider the overachiever an ideal employee, but employees who fail to take time for themselves may wind up burned out or as workaholics.

Signs One of Your Employees Is Too Much of an Overachiever

Overachieving can be very beneficial for a business. It often leads to significant movement and success, but for all the benefits, it can also lead to multiple problems. If you have high performers who are hiding in their work, take some careful actions to help them find more balance in their lives. Here are some signs that an employee may be on the verge of becoming a workaholic:

  • He or she is always on: These individuals may be so focused on their work that they never really leave the office. With the increase in digital technology, workers can stay connected to their tasks 24/7. Work does not have to bring an employee pleasure for them to become a workaholic. Many use work as a coping mechanism to avoid confronting other areas of life. You may receive emails from these individuals around the clock.
  • He or she has expediency down to a science: Many overachievers have an innate drive to succeed, so they do everything as quickly and as correctly as possible. They may stand to eat meals while on the phone, multitask, and accept more tasks than a normal person should have time to accomplish.
  • He or she doesn’t know how to talk about life outside work: When forced to socialize in a work setting, these individuals revert to a problem at work or focus on work-related conversations. You won’t find a chronic overachiever discussing home life; in fact, he or she may actively avoid it.

Effectively Managing a Known Workaholic

Once you’ve identified the chronic overachiever in your team, you may want to take precautions when dealing with one for your company’s sake as well as the health of the employee. Overachievers have been known to switch jobs quickly. In doing so, they may take everything they have learned and done for the company with them.

The performance review is a great time to address traits of chronic overachieving and encourage balance in the workplace and life. While their on-face performance may be great, many of these individuals can’t sustain a consistent level of achievement, and encouraging healthy habits is one way to prevent burnout or a mental breakdown.

Use the review process to encourage an employee to take time off. Recognize your own reliance on a workaholic and make a commitment to lightening his or her load throughout the year. Creating and maintaining realistic expectations can help managers and chronic high achievers stay grounded and moving toward strategic goals instead of burning out.

To find the right combination of criteria for your next performance review, use a professional performance review template that matches your needs.

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