Recently, I read Jeffrey J. Fox’s How to Become a Great Boss at the recommendation of a co-worker. Fox’s book provides a concise examination of the foundational rules that great leaders and managers follow. According to Fox, the great boss understands the core competencies of his organization and promotes employee behaviors that propel the company forward.
Fox contends that employees that exemplify the behaviors that drive the company forward are your A players. A players are smart, motivated, goal oriented. They deliver more, move quickly and are looking for challenge. The formula is simple, you want as many A players on your team as possible – as opposed to B, C or D players. It sounds like common sense, right? Surround yourself with highflyers and your successes will multiply.
So, how to you promote a team comprised of mostly, if not all, A players? Fox prescribes that great bosses:
Hire A players
The great boss hires people that have the ability and attitude to be successful, or A players. Don’t be afraid to hire folks that are smarter than you! Your job as a manager or leader is to deliver results by orchestrating the assortment of talents on your team, not be the cleverest member. A players are harder to manage, but the great boss challenges their A’s to get the most out of them.
Spend time with the superstars
If inheriting B, C or D players, the great boss spends most of his time grooming A players, knowing that the largest return will come from that investment. This school of thought is similar to the topic of Marcus Buckingham and Donald O. Clifton’s self-help book Now, Discover Your Strengths. Buckingham and Clifton’s work focuses on building strengths rather than focusing on weaknesses. This is because focusing on your weaknesses may only result in marginal improvement; whereas focusing on your strengths provides the greatest opportunity for competitive edge.
Set the example
A great boss is a role model for his employees and should personify desired behaviors and attitudes. As such, a great boss is reticent, reserving complaint and communicating in a constructive manner. The great boss also gives thanks to their employees so as to foster a culture of appreciation and recognition. A players require acknowledgement and respect just like any other employee.
What has your experience been being part of or leading high performing teams? I’d love to hear your thoughts!