Live and Lead for Impact with Kirsten E. Ross

EP 154 3 Keys to Retaining Your Rockstars – OR The Triple A Method

You Can NOT compensate your way out of a bad work environment….you can for a period but….it’s a downward spiral and eventually your rock star will be recruited away either for more money  - after all, in the end they were only with you for money – they loved what you were up to but the environment was intolerable……


Or….they’ll be recruited away for a better opportunity – maybe even for less money…..

  1. Key Foundational Assumptions – You’ll hear me say this over and over – all 


  • Feel like they are doing a good job
  • Known, Acknowledged, Appreciated
  • Feel like their life is part of something bigger than themselves


Here’s the Triple A Method (AAA)



  • See them
  • Thank them
  • Give them special attention – too often I see leaders worried about employees feeling bad if they aren’t getting recognition.   PLEASE do NOT design your recognition program in a way that minimizes discomfort for your non-performers…..Do that and guess who is feeling uncomfortable.  Yes, of course, your rockstars!  Who work hard and then feel invisible.

    You want an environment where authentic praise and recognition is abundant.  If an employee desires to have more recognition help them strategize about how they can modify their work or behavior to EARN what they desire.




Take one quick minute to visualize your lowest performing employee – I know you know who they are – now visualize what your business, office, department would run like if everyone performed at their same level – Yes, this is where I get the uncomfortable laughs……


what would happen?


Guess who is picking up the slack for their poor performance  - Assuring that what you just envisioned DOES NOT happen….Likely YOU – And….Your Rock Stars – and they are building resentment and beginning to burn out – and guess who has more opportunity out in the world


  • Your Rockstars are jumping up and down at least figuratively and possibly literally when they see you hold people accountable
  • When your leadership style lacks accountability your rockstars are likely part of the formula that sustains the business - the ones picking up the slack
  • Too often rockstars are held to a higher standard – Here’s what I see far too often – A leader starts thinking…..hmmmmmmm…I haven’t had any correction conversations with people in a while – well guess who’s easiest to talk to – the Rockstar who appreciates constructive feedback BUT – if you start talking to them too often about the miniscule thing they did wrong while you let the low performers slide – they will start to build frustration, resentment and more….and you’ll have them walking out the door.

Your high performing employees will leap for joy if you start holding people accountable! You don’t need to start everyone on a discipline path.  Just hit a reset. Put everyone on notice that these are the expectations and you need everyone the team to hit the bar you set.  If some continue to fall short, and they will until they realize you are serious, you’ll sit down individually to communicate the gap you are seeing and create a plan for improvement.  If the issues continue then start to walk the discipline path.




High performing employees love to achieve. Give them plenty of opportunities to Advance as they work for you – Otherwise their motivation to grow can have them walking out the door.  If you lead a smaller, flat organization, Don’t worry, there are ways beyond a promotion to help someone advance.  

  • Advance Skills – what skills could take them to the next level? What skills would they love to learn? What skills will they need in the next position?  Map it out and help them build those skills
  • Advance Coaching or Mentoring Opportunities – align them with  a personal resource that can elevate their work and life game.  Rockstars have high aspirations and coaching and mentoring can help them gain clarity and overcome personal barriers to achieving.
  • Advance Chance to Train Others – Finding these opportunities can create a real win win – Your Rockstars have mad skills and will feel honored that you trust them to share their knowledge with others.  A little caution here, however……I encourage you to give a monetary bonus or some other compensation to reward them if they’ll be doing a lot of training.  Resentments can build if they perceive you are benefiting from their skill without rewarding them.
  • Advance chance to Shadow
  • Advance chance to meet leaders in your organization – Or network with industry leaders outside the organization =- in other words, networking.  Pay for their membership, give them time to attend and pay for some events.
  • Advance chance to Represent the Organization – Events, Booths 
  • Advance in the company - Promotion

Learn the Delegation Strategies I’ve shared with THOUSANDS and get your team to do what you need! Grab a copy of my EBook, The Six Simple Steps to Great Delegation


Kirsten Ross Vogel is an author, podcast host and CEO of Focus Forward Coaching where we help leaders 


  • defeat team drama 
  • to 4X productivity, 
  • wow their customers 
  • and improve their bottom line 
  • with simple, actionable strategies, systems, communication hacks and mindset shifts.

Ready for some individualized help for your leadership challenges?  Grab a spot on my calendar and let’s discuss how I can help you transform your leadership and your team.

Direct download: Eps_154_Retain_Your_Rockstars.mp3
Category:leadership -- posted at: 1:00am EDT