Every organization is looking for subject matter experts, they want people who know the industry, who can intelligently complete the given tasks. However, there is one thing that organizations value more than an expert and that is an A-player!
An A-player is not necessarily the most intelligent employee but they are the ones who know how to best manage people and situations. They understand the essentials of good communication and know how to get the job done. Domain experts will only take you so far. They will offer their input on their area of expertise but will not be much help when it comes to people or, resource management and everything else that contributes to the smooth functioning of an organisation.
Some of the traits of an A-player are:
(1) They are calm and composed when faced with distressing situations and can lead without being the center of attention.
(2) They are mindful of people and situations and manage their emotional response, especially in an emotionally charged situation, bringing healing and positive urgency to impact performance.
(3) They are not trying to get the job done at the cost of people or relationships, they are creating other leaders by setting an example.
In short, A-players are leadership material. Their ability to get excellent performance out of others is what defines them and makes them right for leadership roles.
Have you noticed that while most leaders are not subject matter experts, they are excellent with their human interaction and interpersonal skills!
How a person handles, grooms, develops, retains and enables growth of their people and teams decides their professional success and an A-player understands this better than anyone else.
The problem is, that in a world as well connected by technology as it is, innovation and fresh ideas are always appreciated but we face a growing challenge – while human communication is growing, human connection is rapidly diminishing and a personal touch is the need of the hour and an A-player knows this.
People with great ideas will be unable to realize them unless the mindset becomes that of looking out for people who bring those ideas to life. Unfortunately, the world has become more idea focussed and less people focussed. An A-player realizes that it is people to help make an idea a reality and thus uses a “people first” approach because he/she knows when you accelerate others, everyone wins.
When it comes to taking ownership of responsibility at work, an A-player thinks like an entrepreneur. Entrepreneurs take ownership for all of their actions because the company they are running is their own and that is exactly how an A-player treats the organization they are working for. They take 100% ownership for their work, the results they are expected to achieve.
It is the actions of an A-player that sets them apart from everyone else. They understand that their actions determine their relationships with their peers and teams which in turn will affect the performance of their teams.
In conclusion, subject matter experts are great but A-players not only help the organization win, they also create the next generation of leaders to ensure long term continuity of the mission.