Are You an ‘A’ Player?

1024 576 David DeWolf

I’m continuously surprised how difficult it is to find ‘A’ players.  I’m even more surprised by how many people think, erroneously, that they are one of the few.

Here’s a quiz to help you determine whether you are an All-Star.

Section 1 – Prerequisites

  • Are you competent? Do you have the necessary skills, ability, and knowledge to be successful in your role?
  • Are you a quick learner? Do you learn new concepts and quickly apply them?
  • Are you productive? Do you deliver in an efficient manner, minimizing waste and optimizing results.
  • Are you a person of integrity? Do you always speak the truth? Do you have strong character?
  • Are you low maintenance? Do you present solutions for the problems you identify, minimize your non-productive complaining, and give your employer the benefit of the doubt?
  • Are you self-motivated? Do you have an internal drive that fuels you to accomplish great things? Are you willing to do whatever it takes to accomplish your goals?
  • Are you professional? Do you understand and use the appropriate behaviors, manners, dress, quality expectations, etc. for different business situations?
If you answered yes to all seven of the above questions, and you’re being honest with yourself, then congratulations, you are at least a ‘B’ player. B players have the fundamental skills necessary to be an ‘A’ player.

Section 2 – Essentials

  • Are you results-oriented?  Do you worry more about delivering results than trying to impress? Do you spend your energy focusing on how to overcome a challenge rather than how to lower the bar or look better if you fail?
  • Are you a creative problem solver? Do you “connect the dots? Do you piece together information from disparate sources and topics in order to solve real problems and create real value?
  • Are you humble (enough to realize you haven’t arrived)? Do you actively seek out advice, listen to criticism, and filter all of the noise into a plan to improve yourself?
  • Do you thrive off of a challenge?  Do you look at obstacles as the next opportunity to succeed rather than the next opportunity to fall down? Do you rise to the occasion?
  • Are you passionate? Do you genuinely care and have a strong desire to excel?
If you’ve answered yes to each of the second set of questions, then you may be an ‘A’ player.

Section 3 – Differentiators

  • Are you a leader? Do people naturally follow you? Do you motivate and inspire rather than manage and task? Are you able to rally the troops, build a team, and add more value than you can possibly on your own? (By the way, the best leaders know how to follow.)
  • Do you make the best of the hand you’re dealt? Can you bootstrap solutions out of nothing, willing your way to success?
  • Are you a team player? Do you realize that two heads are better than one to help bring individuals together into a cohesive unit?
  • Are you a visionary? Are you able to imagine what it will be like down the road and are you able to paint the picture for others?
  • Are you polished and dynamic? Do you command respect? Are you able to grab the attention of leaders and are you comfortable in front of others?

Nobody is perfect, but if you want to be an ‘A’ player, these final traits are fairly important. Everyone has one or two that they need to work on, but true “All-Stars” likely contain strengths in more than a couple of these areas and are able to at least tread water with their weaknesses when required.

Being an ‘A’ player is no easy feat. An ‘A’ player in one role may not be an ‘A’ player in another, but in my opinion, if you have these basic traits, then you’re likely to perform at a high level no matter what the context.

How about you? Are there other strengths that you believe ‘A’ players typically exemplify? Anything on the list that you don’t believe is essential in order to be considered a top performer?