Management Skills: Are You Helping Your Stars to Sparkle?

management skills


In a neat book by Tim Hindle ‘Guide to Management Ideas and Gurus’ he says (within the context of a chapter on the management skills of mentoring)

‘Stars need others to help them retain their sparkle’


It’s so obviously true that we need to pay attention to our ‘Stars’ – those employees who consistently perform above our expectations. But does this always happen? Do the stars in your team get the recognition and appreciation they want and need? Are they being mentored? Are you discussing their development needs?

A key management skill is helping the Stars your team to sparkle. Here are three ideas on how you can do that

Management Skills #1: Mentoring

I guess it’s sensible to start here (this being where Tim Hindle’s book places the ‘sparkle’ idea) but I have a confession to make. I don’t know much about the management skills of mentoring. I know, shocking ain’t it? But, as ever, I know someone who does! Take a look at this ‘How to mentor someone’ blog by Ask a Manager for some sensible ideas

Management Skills #2: Give effective praise

It’s all too easy to shower praise on our Stars. To give them the type of praise that sounds like;

‘Great job!’

‘You nailed it!’

‘Excellent presentation!’

All very affirming, of course, but is it useful? Does it help your stars to really sparkle?

Take a look at this research from Leadership IQ

53% of employees who said their boss gave them praise for excellent performance said the feedback did not give them enough useful information to help them repeat it

Clearly for praise to be useful it has to be detailed. The praise has to help your Star to clearly see:

  • What, specifically, they are doing  that’s making them a star
  • Why what they are doing is so effective – how it’s positively impacting the business / team / department etc

(Read more at ‘5 Ways to Give Praise’)

Management Skills #3: Have great development discussions

I think it’s fair to say that most of our Stars have a real interest in their own development. Its important then that we:

  • Make time for development discussions
  • Focus on our Stars strengths – and how they can build on these
  • Also look at areas for improvement (even the best Stars often have areas they could improve on
  • Focus on their areas of interest – they may not have shown any great aptitude yet but, being Stars, they probably will if given the opportunity!

(Read more on how to discuss development needs HERE)

Management Skills: Helping your Stars to Sparkle – Summary

As busy managers it’s easy to get distracted from managing our Stars (especially if we are having to spend a lot of our time managing those employees on our team who are struggling with their performance). The reality is, Stars don’t sparkle forever – without your help

So, what can you do to help your Stars sparkle?

Want to read more?

If you want to read more about development discussions and giving performance feedback you could take a look at my Kindle book ‘A step-by-step guide to running performance appraisal meetings that that motivate your staff to higher performance and higher job satisfaction

This guide was easy to read, well structured and easy to follow… I particularly liked: the emphasis on motivation; the inclusion of job satisfaction ( not something I had come across as a specific appraisal topic before); the approach of drawing in the staff member to the whole process ( making them prepare and getting them to give their views first); the idea of sharing performance feedback and that the manager should be prepared to change their mind on whether objectives have been met in the light of information given by the member of staff.


3 Responses to Management Skills: Are You Helping Your Stars to Sparkle?

  1. Enkata says:

    We all want to be told that we’re doing a good job, but it’s much more concrete and lasting when you can tell someone what they did that was so good. It encourages them to repeat that behavior.

  2. joanhenshaw says:

    Thanks for your input Enkata – you are right (of course)!

  3. […] managers should do more of or differently when it comes to management skills (for example ‘Helping your stars to sparkle’ or ‘How to share performance […]

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