If you’re lucky, you have a team of employees who consistently exceed your expectations. These people go above and beyond what’s necessary to do their very best work for your company each and every day.

It’s a wonderful thing to have a great group of people working for you, but being good at their jobs doesn’t necessarily mean they’re all headed for a corner office. High performance doesn’t necessarily correlate with high potential. For example, your top salesperson might be the best in the industry at closing deals, but fail to impress in a higher-level management position.

You need to know the difference between high performers and high potentials, so you can effectively engage these very different — yet equally important — members of your team.

3 Tips to Identify High Performance vs. High Potential

Not quite sure what direction your superstar employee is headed? Use these three tips to figure it out:

  1. Define Ideal Characteristics: It’s difficult to recognize the talents of high potential employees if you’re solely assessing candidates on performance. Decide what traits you’d prefer employees holding each position to embody, so you can conduct a well-rounded assessment.
  2. Test the Waters: You already know your high performers can work circles around everyone else, but that doesn’t mean they have the skills needed to shine in a leadership position. Give them a few assignments, such as managing an intern or taking the lead on a group project and see how they do. Use this information to choose the best way to promote the person.
  3. Ask About Their Career Goals: Managers often make the mistake of assuming everyone is striving to secure a leadership position, but that certainly isn’t the case. Many high performers excel at their jobs because they’re truly doing what they love. They don’t want the added responsibility of managing people or taking on more high-level projects. Sometimes the easiest way to gauge high performers vs. high potentials is to simply ask about their future plans.

Don’t settle for anything but the best person for the job. Partner with Longview Search Alliance. As one of the top executive search firms in Southern California, we’re committed to operating with and promoting the utmost transparency in the headhunting industry.

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