Leadership experts James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner talk about how the most successful leaders are always working on themselves. As Mahatma Gandhi famously said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”

Sadly there are countless “leaders” out there who complain about their teams not performing up to par, but if they look in the mirror, they will realize their teams are just modeling their own poor B and C Player behaviors. As leadership expert John Maxwell challenges, “What shadow are you casting as a leader?”

Here are some bona fide B and C Player “leadership” tendencies that are guaranteed to stunt your team from being A Players:

  • Have no strategic goals and direction
  • Have no tangible plans to achieve strategic goals
  • Say you are open to feedback, but are always on the defensive when feedback is given
  • Waffle or flip-flop on decisions
  • Sluff off dirty work under the guise of “delegation” when the going gets tough and you don’t want to get your hands dirty
  • Ask people to do things that you are unwilling to do yourself or that you have never done
  • Ignore the advice of your A Players and give them the “Just do as I say approach”
  • Play by different rules than your team
  • Miss your own targets while demanding your team hit theirs
  • Not giving your A Players quality time

The major story here is you don’t walk the talk. Your team will very clearly see through your façade. The number one leadership characteristic is credibility. Credible people are congruent in their words and actions. People will only follow credible leaders. People will not follow leaders who are not credible.

If your team’s performance is faltering, first look in the mirror. If you check these 10 factors and your performance is good, then it is likely you have B and C Players on your team that need to be coached up. However, in most cases, the leader has dropped their guard and has committed one of the ten B and C Player leadership faux pas listed above.

Clean up your own leadership game, and you will be amazed how quickly your team responds! In many cases, the leader raising his or her game is the quickest way to raise the performance level of the team! Publically declaring and fixing leadership competencies where you have been lacking is the fastest way to getting A Player performance from your team. No longer will your team be content to work as Bs and Cs in the shadow of a B or C Player leader.

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