Managing Mashup: How to Be a Boss to Different Types of Workers

Not all employees are the same, so why manage them that way?

Large group of business people sitting in a row at meeting
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Overachievers

1. Lead by example. Overachieving is often an affliction of those early in their career (who have yet to burn out from their frenzied pace), so they're probably still impressionable to the work environment you set. "You'll have to teach them to pace themselves, and help them prioritize," Levit says.

That could mean not sending less-than-urgent emails at 7 p.m. on Saturday or asking for progress reports while you, yourself, are on vacation.

2. Manage on the defensive. As mentioned, burnout is a chief worry with such an employee, so you might have to have an honest powwow about sustaining quality work over time. "Show them that you value their efforts, but also discuss with them your concerns about their pace," Levit says. "Give them suggestions for how to modify the way they work."

[See: 17 Signs You Might Be a Workaholic.]

Slackers

1. Don't jump to conclusions. You might not like conflict, but you can't avoid having a sit-down with a shirker. But before you reprimand, keep an open mind for diagnosing the issue. Unproductive employees might slack on responsibilities because the responsibilities weren't made clear, or because they feel under- or inappropriately utilized.

2. Maintain a firm line. Being receptive to an employee's backstory doesn't mean you don't still have department objectives. Levit suggests phrasing a conversation about goals by asking, "'How can I help get you to the level where I need you to be?' Then put together a clear plan with them so that they'll be able to do well going forward," she says.

If goals still aren't met, you can't be a softie. "You can't make someone motivated if they simply aren't," Levit says. "It's not your responsibility to employ them."