Do you have a High Status Star on your team? Don't feed them Humble Pie

Some think the answer to get performance for the team is to hire a star performer.  Many times that star wants high status.  A common misconception is a high performer has more resources to draw upon during a setback, but according to a study by a couple of Academy of Management professors this isn’t true as often as people think.  One of the things I figured out is the Type A over achiever who has the high status star has some flaws when you dig underneath. You’ll find many times they have many more insecurities than others, and has something they obsessively focus on to show they are better than the rest.  This study explains the situation with some data.

Although "making their prestigious position a central part of their self bolsters high-status individuals' self-worth... it also means that they come to depend more than low-status individuals on their status to maintain their positive self-view," explain the paper's authors Jennifer Carson Marr of Georgia Institute of Technology and Stefan Thau of INSEAD. "Consequently, losing status is likely to be more self-threatening for high- than low-status individuals [and they] will experience a more significant decline in the quality of their performance in the immediate aftermath of status loss."

One of the great observations made by a data center executive is a person who is the “Donald Trump” of the data center industry.  Why? That person is self promoting.  He is a nice guy, but after a while it gets a bit tiring to feed their ego.

The last thing you want to feed a high status individual is a serving of Humble Pie.  Here are three tips to take care of that high status individual who works on your team or may be yourself.

Asked what lessons might be drawn from the paper's findings, Prof Marr names three.


"The first is to acknowledge that even top performers -- in fact, especially top performers -- are prone to make mistakes and suffer poor performance in the aftermath of status loss, which suggests that this is not the time to be taking significant actions or making important decisions. It is prudent to take some time off and restore one's sense of self-worth before returning to work.


"Second, you can reduce the harm from status loss by taking some time to think about a valued relationship and, in general, by recognizing the value of meaningful relationships or aspects of one's life outside of work. These elements can compensate for threats to the self that loss of status can entail. Another way to achieve this may be by looking to change jobs, to find work at another organization where you feel respected.


"Finally, our research investigates the immediate consequences of status loss, but over time individuals find ways to affirm themselves and come back. Steve Jobs was a prime example of that. Maybe we'll see the same thing with A-Rod now that he has a year off courtesy of a Major League Baseball arbitration. He's talking about coming back better than ever, and, who knows, if he's learned a lesson, he just might."