Rock Stars or Super Stars

In her book Radical Candor, author Kim Scott identifies two types of employees: Rock stars and Super stars.


Rock stars are…

  • Looking for stability
  • May not want constant promotions or employee recognition
  • Want to deepen their area of expertise

Super stars are…

  • Focused on quick upward growth
  • Need constant promotions and ongoing feedback
  • Need new challenges
  • Need to see their career growth plan mapped out

Rock stars and Super stars have different priorities. In order to bring out their best performance, they need to be managed differently:

Feed them the right work
Don’t give the employee who just had a new baby the assignment that requires travel. That Rock star wants to stay close to home; expect steady, reliable, results. Hand the Super star multiple short-term projects with lots of variety. They may need coaching to pay attention to details.

Recognize employees accordingly
Recognition and appreciation should be thoughtful. Public praise might be embarrassing for one employee but rewarding for another. A Starbucks gift card may be fine for some, others may find it insincere (especially if they don’t drink coffee).

Evolve:
As companies grow and change, so do employees. Be aware of what makes your employees look forward to coming to work. One employee may start out as a Super star but develop other outside interests, changing into a Rock star looking, to deepen her role and area of expertise.

Gallup research found that front-line managers account for at least 70% of employee engagement scores. Staying in tune with employees means taking a sincere interest in what makes them tick.

Kim Scott addressed the First Annual CEO Summit “Superstars vs Rock stars: Inspire your team to do the best work of their lives”. Check her out on YouTube.

The road is easier together,

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