December 11, 2017

Leading the Superstar

In the work I do each day, I coach and consult for the A Players of the world…you know…the superstars who are always going to do well and who are shooting for the moon in everything they touch.

I have found that the majority of A Players are usually quite comfortable working with the boss and top decision makers in the company, yet they are often less comfortable working with the B and C players in the organization (Superstars thrive by spending time with other superstars or people who are ahead of them in rank). If the superstar is going to move ahead in the organization (or career), developing relationships with people who are hierarchically below them will be critical to their success. By giving them the opportunity to teach and mentor B and C players, the superstar can learn the people skills needed to advance.

Most A Players respond quite well to a manager’s offer of bigger, better challenges (challenges that stretch their creativity, project management skills and results). This is an opportunity to impress the top decision makers in the company and to develop skills which can further their career.

While it may be hard to believe, most A Players often live with a lot of insecurities (Winston Churchill is one such example). They have usually lived the life of an over-achiever due to pressures from authority figures, and they go over and beyond to do the best job possible. A manager can help by giving the A Player a job for which she was perfectly designed for, allowing her to succeed and then giving praise publicly for a job well done. The praise does have to be genuine, or the superstar will dismiss it as bogus. It is important to remove platitudes from the praise and focus on her unique skill sets and how that skill set has affected the outcome and the people on the team. Example: “Susan. Your work on the XYZ project was outstanding. I was so impressed at how detailed your project plan was and how you finished the project on time and slightly under budget. You are such a role model for the other team members, and I want to thank you for your hard work.” Superstars love to hear about their results and their hard work.

If you are leading a superstar, I encourage you to take the time today to map out a plan for her development. Get her involved in that plan, and watch as the superstar shoots for the moon!.

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