We all have a pretty good idea of what an A player is – the rising star; the person who always goes above and beyond what’s needed; and the one you can count on to consistently get things done. The B player may demonstrate those qualities as well, but a key difference is that B players aren’t usually concerned about climbing the corporate ladder – which makes it harder to keep them engaged and retain them for years at a time.
So how do you engage and retain your B Players? Liz Kislik provides 5 approaches to support them to be their best in an article on HBR titled “How to Engage and Retain Your B Players.” One of her suggestions is to give a B Player permission to take the lead: “In 30 years of practice, one of the most common reasons I’ve seen people hold back is if they don’t believe they’ve been given permission to step up. (The people we think of as A’s tend not to ask for or wait for permission.) Some B players aren’t comfortable in the spotlight, but they thrive when they’re encouraged to complete a mission or to contribute for the good of the company.”
Think about that the next time you have a project to delegate to someone on your team. Instead of automatically giving it to one of your A Players, consider a dependable B player. You never know – that project may just be the thing they need to become an A Player in the making!
Check out Liz Kislik’s insights about B players here.
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Kris Cavanaugh Castro is the People Development Coach at Aepiphanni, the trusted advisor for business leaders who are seeking forward-thinking solutions to help them plan for and navigate through the challenges of business growth. Kris has over 25 years of coaching, training and mentoring leaders to greater success; and she periodically writes about leadership development and facilitates change management conversations.
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