Look deeper to find your next A players

People & Culture

We all want a team of A Players working for us. You know, the kind that drives the business forward, improves your culture, and are the picture of your next superstar?

But How Do You Find Those A Players?

You learn to look deeper.

Diversity of skills and talents are to be expected in the workplace. We need highly skilled people for our businesses to be successful. But with the right aptitude, skills can be improved upon with training.

Character traits, on the other hand, cannot be taught. They’re part of the person. When looking at employees or applicants, it’s vital to look at who they are as much as what they can do.

However, when an employee or applicant possesses the right set of character traits, you may have a diamond in the rough.

Here Are Three Traits That Are Common in A Players:

  1. Willingness to be coached, or be the coach. When an employee is willing to accept coaching and in the next step become the coach, pay attention! Adaptability is important in most roles, however, adaptability between being the student and the teacher is not something everyone comes by naturally. When it shows up, see the value it will create in your workplace. You likely have a natural born leader on your team.
  2. Resilience. Being resilient isn’t just about getting back up, it’s getting up faster every time you’re knocked down. In a competitive workplace, employees who come by this naturally will probably quickly advance into leadership roles. As they grow into their positions they will move faster, and the ‘hits’ they take along the way are seen as mere stepping stones, not dramatic events. Most of us can build up resilience but not everyone does it in a progressive manner.
  3. Compassion. For those of us who are driven in our careers, it is important to understand that showing compassion for others is not meant to take the place of your own goals and ambitions. It’s about having goals and ambitions while caring for the best interest of others. This is not a coachable skill. It is authentic and will exist or will not.

When I am part of hiring or promotion decisions, I focus on those who naturally possess these traits. They don’t always show up in the same manner, so when they appear authentically they stand out immediately. Always look beyond the obvious and when you find that diamond in the rough, do what you can to make it shine. The return on what you invest will not only serve your immediate need, it will serve the future of your organization, and the future of your team.

Shannon Pearson


Shannon Pearson is a champion of culture and engagement at incrementa (un)consulting. She helps create high performance teams by connecting people to the organization’s DNA: it’s core values and purpose. Leveraging proven methodologies, she increases engagement and connection while reducing conflict.

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