By Simone Smith
We all want to have as many ambitious employees as possible. After all, it’s the go-getters and overachievers who usually provide the best work, and they’ve always got their sights set high. You never have to micromanage them, and you can count on them to be reliable and hard-working.
However, there is a potential drawback – sometimes, ambitious employees become too ambitious, leaving you with a very difficult question of what to do with them. Things get disruptive. The overly ambitious employee tries to take charge and do things their own ways, often disregarding you and the colleagues. Tensions rise in the workplace. Your best bet is to address the problem in a way that will prevent you from losing that ambition.
1. Keep an Open Dialogue
The best time to start discussions with an overly ambitious employee is before things start getting out of hand. When you notice this employee is starting to become irritable, or is overextending their abilities in the work place, you’re going to want to start talking about it immediately. Maintain that open dialogue so the employee knows they can share their concerns with you and you’re willing to listen. You won’t be able to jump over the moon for the employee, but you need to be willing to hear them out at the very least.
2. Set an Agreeable Path
An overly ambitious employee is eager to go places. He or she is setting their sights on something spectacular, and they want to get there. In order to do that, they’re going to need a plan of some sort in place. Sit down with them, and lay out a timeline. Even if the proposed timeline is slow moving, the employee will have something to go by. That will remove a lot of fear of the unknown, and anxiety about when they will be able to reach their goals.
3. Be Cautious of the Language You Use
It’s easy to find yourself frustrated with the overly ambitious employees as they always seem to have a lot of concerns and always need to have their hands busy. They’re constantly turning to you for what to do next, and you may not have anything prepared yet. The worst thing you can do is shatter their ambition by not being mindful of the way you speak to them. You need to be encouraging. If you need to tell this person to lay off, you have to do it gently in a way that won’t cause them to feel invalidated.
4. Improve Coworker Interactions
When someone’s ambition causes friction among other employees, in the end, everyone is going to be unhappy. You aren’t going to have many productive days if nobody can stand each other. Your other employees may complain because they find their more ambitious team members difficult to work with. Talk to the employee in question about how to efficiently interact with others, reminding them cautiously that whereas an individual effort is always desired and sought after, in the end it is the team effort that leads the company to success . At the same time, let the other employees know that you’re handling the situation.
5. Make Simple Adjustments
Some people may not be able to work together. Ambitious employees may neglect the menial tasks in favor of the important ones. Some people may need some special accommodations. You don’t need to turn things upside down to appease certain people – in fact, you really shouldn’t. Whatever small compromises you can make to lubricate problematic situations may be worth it in the long run.
People are going to clash in the workplace, and that’s inevitable. Sometimes, the frustrated individual will actually be correct, and sometimes, it’s because they’re set in their own ways. It’s your job to prevent things from escalating, while keeping your overly ambitious employees happy.