Leadership ABCs: Leveraging Staff for a Super Star Track

Retain, Support, and Strategize

Oct 16, 2018


Many factors contribute to the success of your company; however, employees are your most valuable asset. If you invest time and get to know your employees, their capabilities, and aspirations, you will gain a leading edge in your industry. There is an effective, proven method to leverage your staff to produce stellar results, and it's as simple as learning your ABCs.

The ABC’s of Your Employee Team

Without intent to dehumanize your employees, classify your workforce into one of three categories: “A,” “B,” or “C.” Your “A” team will comprise your top performers, “B” team members are mediocre, and your “C” team are under-performers. This information will allow you cultivate, improve, and educate your best and weed out the worst. Your success depends on the strategic placement and management of your “A” and “B” and “C” performers.

 Player Characteristics

To help you, below are the main characteristics of each category, and a starting point for action.

"A" Players

The “A” Players on your team have the greatest potential; they out-perform others and are a great fit for their current positions. Additionally, they live up to your company’s  core values, and “… are the  top ten percent of talent available in the pay range for that position.”

"B" Players

Your “B” players may have top-notch skills and can be top performers, but do not fall in line with your company’s core values.

"C" Players

This group grossly under-delivers, they do not go above and beyond, do not produce and share innovative ideas or offer inspiration to other team members.

 How to Learn Your ABCs

 The first step in this process is to characterize your staff and follow with two additional steps:

  1. Evaluate your current team: Schedule a group session with your managers to rank your employees and place them into their appropriate category.
  2.  Formulate a standard policy using your company’s definition of an A, B, and player, along with your expectations of each.
  3. Build a strategy for each group. 

The Strategy

Your objective as a company leader is to retain your “A” players and prepare your “B” players for “A” roles.

 Hold on to Your “A” s

Companies strive to establish a team of “A” players, and for good reason; “A” players are top performers who possess strong practical skills, a stellar work ethic and the motivation to learn, grow and succeed. These superstars can easily land on the fast track toward leadership roles. On the other hand, it can be easy for them to drop into the “B”- or “C”-player category.

A preemptive resolve to prevent a fall is to engage “A”-players by allowing time for direct and open communication to discuss their goals and ambitions, and to provide coaching, and stimulating new projects.

Support Your "B"s

“B”-Players offer as much value as “A”-players. There are methods you can test to keep them at the same level or prepare them for an upgrade. Start by strengthening any weakness you observe by offering training and/or coaching.

In order to get them on the company culture bandwagon, begin to involve them in decisions, ask for input on departmental issues and encourage them to succeed. Learn what motivates and stimulates them and help them to grow in their roles. 

“C” Strategy

According to the Harvard Business Review, company leaders often choose to “not deal with” this group. These team members are on a path to reprimand or termination. Keeping under-performers will lower your probability to meet company goals. Consequently, “C” players can have a negative impact on other team members and cause an adverse domino effect, especially to your bottom line.

A more palatable alternative to ignoring or terminating this segment is to analyze these employees and identify their weaknesses and strengths. In addition, you can examine their motivations and move them to a position more conducive to their skills, experience, and personality, or train them for a new role.  Keep in mind, that sometimes your efforts won’t bring the desired result and the only solution is termination. Managers need to be objective, regardless of an employee’s tenure, personal situation, friendships, or an outgoing personality.   To conclude, keep in mind that an investment of your perceptive evaluation and time can pay off with your “B” and “C” players becoming top performers. The key is for company heads and managers to know each employee, their motivations, abilities, aspirations, latent skills, and desires. This invaluable insight will become a building block to a community of superstars and eliminate the expense of new 


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Relationships are built…one on one.
Know your people - match interest and talents to the tasks.
Don’t manage by numbers. (They just show if we’re on track.) People do the work.
People should feel better when they leave than when they came – and in turn we feel better.
When we help others, we help ourselves.
Great expectations: fair pay, fair treatment, teach me.
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