We tend to assume that the way we reward and get the most from our best employees is to promote them. For some — that may be the right choice. But it depends on if they’re a rock star or a super star.

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Hey everybody, Drew McLellan here from Agency Management Institute. This week I am coming to you again from Animal Kingdom Lodge on Disney World property in Orlando, Florida. I’m not sure if you can see it behind me but back there are some wildebeests, some zebra and some springbok which are an antelope breed that live in Africa and here on the Animal Kingdom Lodge. So, this week what I want to talk to you about is the difference between a superstar and a rock star and many of you have both in your agency and sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between the two of them and know what to do with them, so here’s my definition. A rock star is somebody who is killer at what they do and they like to play in a group, they’re a good team leader, they’re a good lead singer and a superstar is a solo performer. They are somebody who doesn’t do well in a band, they’re somebody who does not want to teach other people what they do, they just want to go out and stand in the spotlight and do their thing. And both of roles are critical inside an agency but it’s dangerous when you ask a rock star to be a superstar and it’s even more dangerous when you ask a superstar to be a rock star. So, many of us think that the way we can reward great performance and seniority is by putting someone in charge of a team or giving them people to supervise and I will tell you that if you have a true superstar, there is nothing worse you can do to that person or for that person. They are not typically good people managers, they don’t have a lot of desire in helping other people be as good as they are, they love to live in the limelight and they love to rock out what they do. They love to be the shining example of SEO or digital display ad buying or art direction or account service or whatever it is and it’s a dangerous thing to do to your agency and to the longevity of that superstar to put them in a rock star role, to ask them to lead a band. And so, one of the things I want to suggest to you is if you have someone and you’re not sure if they’re a rock star or a superstar, there are a couple things you can do. Number one, you can have them assessed and if you have interest in that, we have a great partner at AMI who has built all kinds of assessments around the very best of the best in every agency position so you can test your person against them based on their behaviors, their motivations, sort of their core beliefs and values to see if they are going to be a good fit for that rock star position. So, one assess them, make sure that they have what it takes to lead the band, to lead a team and number two, have a conversation with them. How do you feel about leading a team? How do you feel about elevating other people so that they are as good as you are? And have a really candid conversation because everyone thinks that they have to say well, yeah, I want to do that otherwise they’re not going to get promoted, they’re not going to make more money, so you need to say to them, look, not everybody is built to manage people or to manage a department, I want to recognize you, I want to leverage your talents in the best way I can, I also want you to be happy in your job and I want you to be successful in your job. So, I don’t want to give you a position where you are not going to be successful, where it is not ideal for you. So, let’s talk about what it would take to lead a department or to have direct reports under you and let’s figure out if that’s actually something that you want to do and that you think you have the skills and gifts to do and give them the freedom to say yeah, I don’t want to do that. It’s okay to have some superstars on your roster that don’t do anything but really good work and we have to find better ways and new ways and different ways to compensate them but we certainly don’t have to put them in charge of a team, so again rock star versus superstar. Be careful that you don’t put them in the wrong role because otherwise it is not going to play well. All right? I’ll talk to you next week.

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