Ultimate Guide to Hiring A-Players

A Look Inside the A-Player’s History

Let’s face it, managing A-Players is not exactly a cakewalk. In fact, the biggest problem you’re sure to have with A-Players is keeping them. We’ve studied the backgrounds of A-Players and found some common historical circumstances. These insights will help you learn more about them, understand how they became A-Players, and circumvent common pitfalls of managing them. Let’s dive in.

Demanding Background

A-Players have likely come from an extremely demanding background. Perhaps they come from a home with parents expecting them to be the best in everything, or, perhaps, a demanding teacher or school pressured them to always perform well. Childhood plays a major role in the development of a person. Growing up in a demanding home is a common characteristic of A-Players. Accustomed to meeting demands, these children grow into adults who thrive in demanding and challenging roles.

Withheld Validation and Praise 

More than likely, A-Players weren’t appreciated for their achievements until they were rewarded in the workplace. Leaving every achievement unpraised was a way to keep their children striving to improve. Now, as A-Players, they constantly battle to achieve validation.

Insecure Overachievers

Having worked for validation, A-Players are fueled to achieve. However, because validation wasn’t readily given to them, most of them have insecurities about themselves and their skills. This insecurity is exactly what keeps them performing so very well. It’s something that drives them to constantly prove their worth.

Strike a Balance – The Art of Managing A-Players

Now for the tricky part…you need to let that insecurity of their own achievements be a way for them to keep going, but also tread carefully so that they don’t go overboard. Striking a balance in such a complicated situation will be the key to keeping your A-Players on a straight path and working for you. You need to KNOW exactly what to give and how much of it; to know exactly how to manage them and when to back off.

Keep reading to learn more about how to keep your A-Players for the long-haul!

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Don’t Let Your A-Players Be Stolen Away: The ABC Crash Course  

The enduring adage finders, keepers; losers weepers doesn’t apply to A-Players. Just because you’ve finally found an A-Player, that doesn’t mean they are yours forever. A-Players are likely to leave their current places of employment before their employers want them to depart.

It’s true that finding A-Players can be a daunting process. But by following the tips in this guide, you will not only find them, you will hire them. Congratulations in advance!

Once A-Players are onboard, you need to keep them! At first, you need to make sure that they don’t begin second-guessing their decision to accept your offer. After they settle in, you need to make sure that you continue to be their employer of choice for many years to come. 

Every day, A-Players are stolen away from unsuspecting companies by other organizations. The leaders of these companies haven’t read this guide and make it easy for anyone to lure their A-Players. Don’t be like them. Instead, consider yourself in constant competition against every employer for these A-Players, whether they are in your industry or not. 

So, how can you keep your A-Players devoted to your business? The truth is, there are too many ways to address them all here. That said, below are the key attributes that your organization needs to consistently demonstrate to every A-Player in order to keep them on your team. And, they’re as fundamental as ABC!

Always Appreciate!

Ensuring an A-Player feels appreciated cannot be stressed enough. From the smallest acts of appreciation, to the biggest pay raises you can offer, appreciation is vital to A-Players. Whatever you do, always, always, ALWAYS make sure you make your A-Players feel valued. Congratulate them when they do a good job, reward them if you can, and involve them in overall company activities.

Please note that a one-size-fits-all approach is insulting to A-Players. Find different ways to validate their efforts, taking into consideration how each particular A-Player experiences validation. Some A-Players simply need a good pat on the back or a few kind words. Others may want to receive an award or a certificate of appreciation that they can hang up in their office or at home. Whatever it is, find out how you can show appreciation for their incredible worth.

A-Players have an urgent, energetic desire to achieve. Occasionally, however, A-Players may seem difficult and act in unexpected ways. Perhaps a prior setback compels them to overwork and push their limits too far. Or, they may be disappointed in their performance and beat themselves up, even though you think their performance has been stellar. At this point, simply appreciate their effort while acknowledging their disappointment. Do not try to convince them otherwise – it will make them feel like you don’t understand them and they will NOT appreciate this disagreement one bit. Just understand them and be kind. This is the quickest way to help them move past their insecurities and get back to business.

Be Bold, Be the Best!

A-Players work for A-Leaders. They work for decisive, bold leaders who have a clear vision of what they want and where they want the company to go. Carving out a key role in the company’s growth reassures A-Players with a greater sense of accomplishment as they approach milestones and advance their careers. Without this clarity, A-Players begin to feel like they’re just doing what they’re supposed to do as if they’re B-Players. They don’t want to be B-Players. They want to do more, to be a part of something bigger than just checking boxes to finish a project checklist. Be bold. Be clear.

A-Players work in A-Environments. They expect their workplaces to be places where professionalism is practiced, respect is expected, issues are handled with discretion, and decisions are made wisely. They also require an environment of excellence to propel your business forward. Provide them with the best teams, other A-Players, the best high-caliber resources and the most complex (and, therefore, the best) challenges, and they will produce outstanding results to the highest standards.

A-Leaders establish A-Environments where A-Players thrive!

Continually Challenge!

A-Players love challenges, and they have the experience, expertise, and drive to tackle the biggest obstacles that hinder your company’s goals. In fact, every one of them is confident that they are the very best, if not the only, person who can overcome the hurdles and lead your company to victory. 

A-Players never stay stagnant. They welcome challenges to grow, to learn, and to put all of their skills to use in bigger, more demanding jobs. Opportunities to excel are sure to keep your A-Players reaching for the brass ring. Make sure they don’t feel like they’re standing still or stuck performing the same tasks at the same level as yesterday. They are driven to do more. Challenge them to create and propose new projects that are beneficial to the company such as boosting the company sales or repositioning the company for better gains.

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3 Simple Hacks to Build a Team of A-Players

 #1 Always Walk The Talk

Some leaders talk about their company values and accomplishments. Others, much like the lion that doesn’t have to tell anyone it’s a lion, exhibit A-Leader qualities and company values, without fail.

When you present yourself to the world as an A-Player, A-Players will be drawn to you. Be prepared for them to approach you and to have productive conversations that can lead you to finding your next A-Player, either in them or through their network.

Besides attracting A-Players to you, you are modeling behavior and qualities for others in the company to adopt. This is especially valuable for the B-Players with potential as they develop qualities that will help them advance and mature into A-Players.

#2 Find the Missing Puzzle Pieces

Building a team of A-Players may not require a complete overhaul of your organizational chart. You may simply need a few missing pieces of the puzzle. 

First, identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current team. Then, find the right people who will strengthen the team and fill the gaps. 

 #3 Look Right Under Your Nose

One of the best ways to create a stellar team is to leverage the people you already have. But, companies often overlook potential A-Players already in the organization — their B-Players. If you have B-Players with potential to be A-Players, shift your focus to them. Nurture their growth. Motivate them to advance their skill set with training and expand their scope of responsibility. If they welcome the challenges and take action, you are on your way to grooming your next A-Player. 

BEWARE! The longer you ignore B-Players who have A-Player potential, the more likely they are to feel useless and unsuccessful. They will wonder if their growth with your company is limited because you don’t want them to become A-Players. Would you rather lose them and all of their future A-Player contributions to a competitor who offers them a better opportunity for advancement?

Who are the B-Players? 

We already covered this in Part 1. Here’s a quick recap:

  • Competent Employees
  • Steady Workers
  • Successful and Efficient with Little Guidance
  • Loyal to Employers
  • Eager to Learn

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The Ultimate Guide to Hiring A-Players

Finding and hiring a winning team is a crucial part of moving your company to the next level.