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The Perils of High Performing Employees

Organizations invest heavily in both acquiring and developing high performing talent. High performers are known for being able to leverage their skills to move the needle on key performance indicators. Despite their generally positive perception, high performers can inadvertently trigger undermining behaviors from their colleagues.

Recent research out of the Journal of Applied Psychology found that while being associated with high performers can motivate others to increase their own productivity, there is also another possibility. When others perceive a high performer as a threat, they may actively seek to undermine their high performing colleague. These undermining behaviors may range from covert (such as exclusion) to more overt forms of aggression.

The findings of this study underscore the importance of implementing appropriate interventions—such as team building and conflict resolution—to understand team dynamics and ensure that your teams are operating with a high degree of harmony and synergy.

To learn more about these findings, please see the source article.

Campbell, E., Chuang, A., Liao, H., Zhou, J., & Dong, Y. (2017) Hot Shots and Cool Reception? An Expanded View of Social Consequences for High Performers, Journal of Applied Psychology (5)102, 845–866.