Performance vs Maintenance



As an effective leader you will become responsible for the actions of a number of team-members.  Since each person is unique, you will need to find different ways and styles in dealing with the different personalities that make up your team.

As you look at the pool of resources that are available to you and you are faced with picking your team, you need to look at two things in particular.

Now, this luxury may not be available to every leader for every assignment, but still the exercise is very beneficial to your leadership development, in knowing where to spend your time on.

Here’s what you do.  Build a table as shown below and try to “land” a team member in one of the four boxes.

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Ideally you’d want high performance and low maintenance team members.  These are very difficult to find, and even more difficult to retain.

You want as many of such team members in your team as possible!

The ones in the yellow box are the low performers, but are not heavy on the maintenance either.  These types of team members need to be handled differently and managing their insecurity takes up a big portion of the leader’s time.  The leader’s time is also spent on reviewing their output.

You inevitably get some such players in your team.  Some of them may have potential to improve, and it is up to the leader to recognize such potential and then work on nudging them towards the green box (identification of such players and working on nudging them towards the green box requires some advance techniques which we will cover in a future post).

The blue box is the prima donna.  These are high performers and they know it.  Hence they, unknowingly perhaps, demand great attention and time.

To round off the matrix, we have the low performers and high maintenance folk in the red boxes.  In the BCG matrix (a management consulting concept invented by the Boston Consulting Group), this category is referred to as the dogs.  Needless to say, you don’t want any of these in your team.

Given that we are talking about people, be aware that they keep evolving all the time.  Each person has their own timelines and objectives for development and it would be a huge mistake to not recognize their development.  An effective leader recognizes this key aspect of capability evolution.  Therefore, you need to continuously keep an eye on behavior and performance and adjust the placement in the matrix to ensure that your categorization reflects their current competency levels.

Images:© luming | Dreamstime Stock Photos & Stock Free Images

Matrix: © Kay Leadership Academy