Some 20 years ago, my boss then and one of the most important mentors I had in life, taught me about this truism from a renowned PhD in organizacional psychology: A people hire A people, B hire C. Have in mind that this truism is not about A-types personalities. It’s about quality levels and how people relate to their own perceived quality level.
Well… my boss taught me this while placing me as an “A”. For good and for bad.
This lesson and teaching of his has been with me ever since. Actually I still do my best to live up to that heavy “label” he applied to me. And as time passed I have expanded this truism to way more than just the career realm as I have come to believe that this can be applied in some ways to work, love and live quality levels.
Let me share it with you, this widely generalised truism of mine…
Who are these A, B and C people and how do these people’s characteristics play a role in work, love or life?
These are outliers and the best at any realm they are invested in or that they put their minds into. High quality level performers, self-aware of their “A” status, they carry the confidence that they will perform at their best regardless or in lieu of external circumstances since they know their level of performance and delivery is dependent on what they do. They do not fear, and they actually enjoy, look for and thrive when side by side with other high-ability people or competition.
“A” people in work undoubtedly choose to hire other “A” people. There is virtually no fear of competition. In fact, most of these managers understand that hiring top quality people is the key to their future success. They want to hire people who are winners just like them. In fact, most “A” performers measure the quality of their company or teams by the number of “A” people that they manage to attract and keep.
“A” people in love do the same. They choose to take other “A” as partners as they know that they will thrive when paired with one another. Also in love they have no fear of competition may it be external or between the two of them. The high potential of an “A” relationship is part of the reasons why they love that person and being continuously challenged by the other is part of the value in the relationship. Most of all, “A” people take upon themselves the responsibility of coming in to the relationship with the best and happiest version of themselves that they have to give. Assuming the other will do the same, together they will be more and better than before and the potential of such couples is immense.
“A” people in life choose to be surrounded by other “A’s”. With their children and with friends, people and community that they embrace, “A” people will continuously deliver high levels of contribution, of teaching and of accountability. Always feeling and believing that they have the responsibility of giving back as much as they can and definitely always more than what they take. And they expect the same from others.
These are the majority at any field or realm. They are the competent, trust-worthy and solid performers. They may not have achieved full potential at all realms they are in, but quite importantly is the fact that with conscientious and intentional development, they can increase their delivery and performance to a consistent high quality level.
“B” people in work can choose in a few ways. Being that only one way is harmful to companies I will start off with that: #1 Way: since some “B’s” are not fully confident in their ability to perform, especially against “A” co-workers, many “B” people will avoid competition. And the only way that some “B” managers can be certain to avoid competition from someone better, is to hire someone who is clearly not as good. Therefore, many “B” choose to hire “C”. While this typically happens at a sub-conscious level, the effect is no less real: a huge decrease in the overall performance and quality of a team or company. #2 Way: luckly amongst “B’s” there are exceptions to this pitfall. Those “B+” managers that have their eye and goal on achieving “A” level, for themselves or their teams, and in order to continue on that path they surround themselves with “A’s”. These are the Team Managers that build a team with higher hard skills than themselves have, in order to create a simbiose. They manage. The team performs. #3 Way: those “B” that are already comfortable with their status and quality level and feel confident and comfortable where they are without feeling the need to overachieve nor to pay the high price and toll that being an “A” sometimes requires. These are the happy team workers.
“B” people in love have many choices as well. They can find an “A” partner and find a way to continuously make the relationship work although it is up to the “B” to run at fast pace. An “A” will inevitably be in high gears, will have a hard time understanding other’s insecurities, will constantly be engaged in something else or something new and always expecting more. Being with an “A” partner can indeed prove to be too much of a strain and effort to anyone. On a high note, we have it that relationships between “B’s” are the most common and solid trust-based relationships where they do complement each other living a happy and fruitful partnership. On a low note, it is only when a “B” has higher insecurities or dependences that they choose a “C” for a partner. “C’s” will mostly likely be insecure partners, most times negative, complaining and dependent on the “B” in more than one way. Or they may just idolise the “B” as someone so much better than them, sometimes generating a feed-loop to those “B’s” that may actually like that idolatry as it provides a sense of superiority, of control and dominance and an easy relationship.
“B” in life come in many ways and forms. Too many to go over with all of them here as it all depends many variables such as individual circunstantes and context. On a high note, they are the good friend always ready to be available, to listen and to support the adventures of their “A” friends. As parents they are involved, supportive and norm complaint caregivers involved in many ways. On a low note, some “B” people can turn out to be the clingy and demanding parents that live and feel fully accomplished when living an un-lived life through their kids achievements and success, placing an unfair burden on them.
These are also outliers but on the opposite side of the quality spectrum. They are marginally competent or accountable even at their best effort and at everything or anything they do. Their quality of delivery and performance is typically mediocre. Unfortunately, as they always put their single good ability or their best foot forward, they are not immediately easy to spot when someone comes across them.
“C” level people in work, love and life… Well, we all know who these are. They are the disgruntled co-workers who will try to bring themselves up by taking others down. After a relatively short period of time on the job, they are easy to identify. They frequently attribute their lack of success to factors which are external to themselves and, therefore, outside of their control. They are the lover or partner that will bring any partner down as a system in order to feel better with themselves. They will be emotionally and financially dependent of others because they feel they are entitled. Only “C” people will feel the need to show off money, status or any little achievement in career, love and life in order to diminish others and therefore feel better and superior. They are not team players and since they live in the self-illusion of grandeur they will not feel the need to evolve, to get better or to contribute to others.
So, and while sharing my 2 cents of opinion, what should one do?
If you are an A, take it easy and share more.
Knowledge is only of value if shared and if put into action.
Do offer chances to “B” people and do give back as much as you can.
And be patient, compassionate and gentle with yourself and others.
The race is long so take your time.
If you are a B, then rise up and break the chain.
Avoid the pitfall of choosing “C” quality people out of fear.
Start choosing “A” people besides other “B’s”. Your success will come sooner and bigger.
Get surrounded with “A” and “B” by creating a new group of friends if need be.
Do teach and inspire your kids to be comfortable with who they are and to accept competition and difference even if it challenges them.
If you are a C… hummmm… Not sure if it makes sense writing to “C” people.
If you are reading this article getting this far in it, you are for sure an “A” or a “B”!
Probably no “C” would read this.
DISCLAIMER: This article and these breadcrumbs of opinion, should be taken with a grain of salt. This blog is meant for voicing out my point of views, my own nonsense, ideas I believe in and topics I feel passionate about. May those be true or not. May I be a specialist on it or not. I love it when readers feel free to disagree and counter point my ideas, opinions and point of view. Because if I don’t voice it out and if no one counter points it, how will we all start a dialogue to evolve and rise above and beyond in work, love and life?