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Phoenix Forward

7 ways high performers can avoid mistreatment

Star employees should still set boundaries

Being the person everyone else in the office relies on is great for job security, but it can also backfire — especially when you get stuck with all the work.

“Always look at job performance from a team perspective,” encourages Tony Di Gaetano, a human resource consultant and instructor in the University of Phoenix MBA program. “Communication is the key to making sure all members of the team contribute equally.”

Here are seven tips on how to make sure you get rewarded for your performance, instead of taken advantage of:


Seek out teamwork.

Gloria Davis, a human resource executive and another instructor in the MBA program, believes you should seek more ways to work in groups rather than individually. “High performers [should] ask for assistance with projects ... and can explain that they need their peers’ specific talents so the project can be the best,” she says.


Don’t be a doormat.

Set boundaries, Davis advises. “Speak up in ways that managers are aware of your workload,” so you don’t get overburdened, she notes.

Lead by example, Di Gaetano adds. He suggests taking an active role in projects and guiding your colleagues without “tattling” or bullying them into pulling their weight.

“While it’s still the supervisor’s role to facilitate cooperation and accountability on the team, giving a peer leader some control offers that employee a chance to develop,” he points out.


Assign tasks.

You can help your team divide work equitably, according to Di Gaetano.

To make sure the work is evenly distributed, he recommends that teams collectively set individual tasks that are achievable, measurable, reasonable and timely. The resulting assignment plan should then be put in writing and referred to by all team members.


Track results.

Keep track of how well both you and your team meet agreed-upon goals, Di Gaetano says. “As a peer leader, you can help set benchmarks and then publicly congratulate your team when those benchmarks are met,” he explains. “That way, you’re encouraging everyone to participate equally, while also developing your own management skills.”


Look for ways to facilitate advancement.

Serving as a peer leader and demonstrating you can meet goals makes you a valuable employee. But it won’t always lead directly to raises and promotions if you don’t seek advancement.

“Find someone who could potentially serve as your replacement if you’re promoted, and help develop both that person and yourself,” Di Gaetano suggests. “Then go to your supervisor to report your desire to move up the ladder.”


Communicate your leadership strategies to management.

Developing your peers also shows leadership potential, Di Gaetano notes, as long as you make sure that your supervisors understand the role you play on your team.


Look for places that will reward your efforts.

Some high performers find themselves passed over for promotions because their supervisors come to rely on their capabilities too much and don’t want to lose them, according to Di Gaetano.

“This happens a lot more than you might think,” he says. If you find it happens to you, Di Gaetano recommends that you network more within your company to promote your successes. “You might find that other departments will then become interested in your skills, which can lead to new projects and possibly promotions.”

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