The 'summit syndrome' has three phases. In the first two stages, the over-achiever becomes bored and confused as the demands of the job reach their peak and then plateau.
Although he will be seen by his company as a star player at the top of his game, he may become dissatisfied and seek out new challenges. He may at this point start taking calls from headhunters. Rather than do this, he should take stock, possibly with the help of a coach, and assess his overall work and life goals.
One financial star discovered that he should delegate more and think about some of his other aspirations, such as doing voluntary work. The high-flyer who has analysed himself in this way should then strengthen key leadership skills, such as learning to get more out of his direct reports, letting go and building a diverse team to take his work to the next level.
Crisis at the summit
George D Parsons and Richard T Pascale
Harvard Business Review, March 2007