In today’s competitive workplace, employees are constantly assigned projects, given deadlines and receive constructive feedback. And organizations imply that employee work accomplishments do not go unnoticed; instead, they position employees for consideration for promotions. As a result, the individual employee pressure to succeed “is on”!

As a supervisor, balancing assignments is difficult, especially if you have a “superstar” on your team. When the pressure is on, it is easy to assign everything to that overachiever – because you know it will get done and get done right. Unfortunately, in the process of weighing them down with assignments, you prevent the underachiever from having the opportunity to learn.

Strong vs. Average Employees
In talking to strong employees about their work loads, I have often been told that they feel as though they are taken advantage of. The common assessment from them is, “If you do it and do it well, they only give you more to do.” While talking to the average employee, the common assessment is, “supervisors tend to give assignments to their ‘favorites’, never giving the average employee a chance to show what they are made of.”

WOW – what a misconception; yet, their perception is our reality. By creating this misconception, we actually teach an employee that, if they are not able to handle a project independently without our assistance, then they don’t deserve the opportunity to be assigned another one. Therefore, many try their best, but unfortunately crash and burn the first time out of the gate.

The Spark-Flame-Fire-Inferno Solution
Here is a method you can use to help your employees succeed. The motto that I share with my employees is, if you given an assignment and you have a little SPARK of confusion, check in with a colleague or me for advice. If you are working on an assignment and a FLAME of conflict occurs, let me know. If you are deep into the project and a FIRE of errors threaten the success of the project, get me involved fast. However, if you ignore the spark, the flame and the fire and choose to wait for an INFERNO, it is not fair to involve others.

Know Each Team Member’s Talents
All employees need the opportunity to succeed. Superstars need the opportunity to mentor. And everyone needs to understand that the person who calls 911 is just as important as the person who responds to their 911 alert.
Know your team’s talents. Put together a talent chart and let it guide you in assigning projects to your team members – the strongest being the mentor and the average being the learner. Be sure to pass the projects around. After all, that is what building a team is all about. Below is an example of a talent chart.

Mathematical Creative Timely Detailed Non-Emotional Grammatical
Greg            X      X       X            X
Heather       X      X
Bonnie      X       X         X