We all know the story where the artist paints the most beautiful painting the world has ever seen. Then people come to ‘manage’ this amazing talent, and for some reason, their output just isn’t the same. The painter then strays away from their talent and paints less and less.
The same happens everywhere.
The music artist who doesn’t want to sing anymore.
The sports athlete who doesn’t want to play in the club anymore.
The engineer who leaves the company for another one.
The star who stops being the star.
There are many reasons why this happens. It could be personal, interested in something else, or the loss of discipline. But I truly believe that mismanagement is a big reason for this.
Star players in whatever context don’t want to be managed like the others. When a star player is there, the person needs to be treated differently than the others. Why? Cause the star player is special. The others are regular players on the team. Sounds harsh but that’s the truth.
The normal players can reach highs that most people dream of. The star players if managed well can reach highs most people can’t even fathom.
Star players should always thus be handled differently than other people. Why are they star players? Because they have the inherent talent, vision, and work ethic to practice their art. Once again the painter who paints something truly amazing. The athlete who does an incredibly plays most still watch on YouTube. The engineer who created a product that changed the world.
There is a reason why Michael Jordan only wanted to be coached by Phil Jackson. There is a reason why Tom Brady and Bill Belichick won so many NFL tournaments together.
If you mismanage your star player, they will leave the organization and never want to work with you again.
To bring this back to engineering. There are usually star players in your organization as well. In tech companies' terms, these are usually the creative individuals who do the engineering or design. Of course, not all of them. If you have are in a team, you know which individuals these are. (Unless you are bitter about it.)
If you notice that they are treated the same as the others, you 100% can know for sure that they will leave eventually. Creatives don’t want to be micro-managed by others. Similar to telling the artist how to paint or the star athlete how to play the game. Regular players want to be told what to do, cause they understand that they need to be optimized.
Star players are completely different. They are outside of any management method you will come across, cause they are special and thus complex. Thus they need special treatment. Let them paint whatever they want while managing the others. Don’t interrupt their creative talent just because they can comply with the team. Why? Cause they may one day paint a product that will revolutionize the industry or game.
If you are a manager or coach, you should optimize that cause it is also rare that you ever come across a star player.
Let these incredible individuals be creative. Or else they will be a star at another place and don’t cry about why they weren’t a star at your place. Probably because you mismanaged them.
Creative people are creative for a reason. Let them paint their art.