top of page

Why Top Performers Don't Always Make Great Leaders

The problem with being a top performer is your success as an individual contributor doesn’t translate to being a great leader of people. Top performers are promoted because of their ability to do work well, not because of their ability to lead. Too often, I see organizations promote a top performer and then leave them alone to figure it out. Without the tools and skills, the transition from top performer to manager leads to a drop in performance, increased turnover and a lot of frustration:

Frustration because you’re unsure of yourself and what it takes to lead others.

Frustration because your team frequently requires hand holding and step-by-step instructions.

Frustration because your team just can’t seem to do the work the way you want them to.

Once in the new role, you stick with what got you there and power through. However, you are now a leader, not only a doer, and what got you here won’t get you to where you need to be. When you continue to do all the work yourself, you turn into a super doer, instead of a leader. The impact on your team and success is immediate and profound.

Not sure if this is you? Here are a few key indicators.

• Your performance starts to dip. You get worse at your job. Super doers are slowed down because of all the work they "need" to oversee, double-check and correct, which often leads to feeling like you don’t have enough hours in the day, and ultimately, burnout.