How To Manage An Overachiever

Joana Leventieva
4 min readOct 14, 2021


Photo by Tangerine Newt on Unsplash

The employee who is an overachiever sounds amazing at first. You think to yourself, “Wow! My business is getting run by a machine who can easily juggle multiple things at once!”

But the truth is that they are only machines because they were designed to be. They burn out quickly and become stressed or depressed.

A lot of it often has to do with perfectionism and the impostor syndrome.

The person who is overachieving is usually trying to prove something, they are most likely trying to show others or themselves that they’re competent and good enough.

So how do you tell your best worker that they might want to slow down?

One word of caution is to be careful not to accidentally “train” them to work more. If they are used to getting praise for their hard work, they might subconsciously decide that the way to get more praise is by working even harder.

If they enjoy working on a project and finish ahead of schedule, instead of saying “Wow! You finished that early!” Consider saying something like: “Great job finishing that early, we appreciate your help.” Then after a few weeks say: “So you’re really good at this. Do you think we could give someone else a shot?” This lets them know that there’s no need to prove anything anymore and allows them the opportunity to pass it off so they don’t fall behind.

You could also mention that you’re getting stressed yourself from constantly being in work mode and you need a break. If your best worker takes on too much of the work, they might not have the opportunity to take time off for themselves. In this case, taking off a few days is actually beneficial for them because it will relieve their stress and allow them more focus when they return back to work.

The other thing you can try is simply giving them some projects that aren’t that high priority. They’ll be able to do them at their own pace and likely won’t mind completing less important tasks while working harder on tasks that matter more.

One of the biggest issues with overachievers is constantly thinking about deadlines. So try to give them tasks that are more open-ended.

This is especially effective for people who work on a deadline but are constantly distracted by feeling like they need to be doing more or worrying about if they’re behind schedule or not.

Another thing you can try is allowing them more time on tasks that are typically done at the last minute. If they have more time to do these things, they’ll be less stressed about it and likely more focused on doing a great job.

Don’t forget about the “wonder child” of your workforce. Don’t give them too much responsibility right away because not everyone can handle being in charge of something big.

Instead of putting all their eggs in one basket, consider giving them some tips along with some praise when they excel at completing smaller projects or tasks that are beneath their skill level. This will get them used to work without feeling overwhelmed.

People who are overachievers are usually really good at what they do but they can become too stressed or depressed by trying to do everything at once. Talk to them and see if there’s a way you can make their life a little less stressful. If your worker is truly an overachiever, chances are they already know they need help but don’t know how to ask for it.

Burnout is bad for everyone. It makes employees unhappy and often forces them to quit their jobs.

Burnout occurs when someone is constantly stressed or overworked with little time to recover. When people are already struggling, pushing themselves harder will only make the problem worse.

It’s important to remember that an employee who finishes everything ahead of schedule can soon become overwhelmed if you don’t figure out a way to slowly ease up on the pressure they’re currently under.

There are many reasons why overachievers feel like they need to do more than what’s expected of them but it’s really important for managers and supervisors to keep an eye on them and try their best to help them slow down. A big push every once in a while is bearable but constant pressure can cause burnout and make employees come to resent their jobs.

If your workers are at the top of their game, they might work harder than anyone else because they want to prove themselves. What you’ll first need to do is figure out why they believe they had to be perfect in the first place.

Once you’ve figured this out, it should be easier for managers to help overachievers become more efficient so they don’t fall behind or let stress get the best of them.



Joana Leventieva

Marketing executive — Bookworm — Adrenaline junkie — Remote-first evangelist — Blockchain enthusiast