Project LeadershipProject Management

How to Manage a Team of B-Players

What do you do with the B-Team, those lovable losers who never rise above adequate? Strong leaders will use their high emotional intelligence and good judgment to produce team success greater than the sum of its parts. In an article for Harvard Business Review, Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic explains how to get that top-grade work out of a middle-of-the-road team.


It all starts with a goal that people can actively realize – a vision for how the future could be. This goal must challenge the team, but not demoralize them. It should be detailed enough that milestones and tactics will illuminate each proscriptive step. This way, success will be less reliant on individual ability, and more a matter of simple follow through (and some luck).

Feedback & Information

There’s no denying the power of detailed and accurate feedback on performance. Of course, there is always a place for intuition to make those split-second decisions and to see big picture issues, but there are few problems all-in-all that can’t be solved by data:

No matter how smart and experienced leaders are, they will make smarter and better decisions if they are armed with data. Data can cut through the biases and politics and create a culture of fairness and transparency. It can also highlight the key individual drivers of team performance, breaking down success into molecular factors that can be easily manipulated.

A B-Team with adequate feedback can adjust their efforts on a play-by-play basis, and it can also help them regulate their performance. Lack of feedback shows disinterest, and dishonest feedback will only disguise limitations and lead to poor decision-making. Hard work is usually all the B-Team has to work with, so tell them that.

Group Cohesion

Lastly, a world-class team has to be friends, or at least friendly. Employees who care about one another will improve performance for each other. If the leader identifies success only in terms of his or her individual career, it will alienate the team and undermine the fostering of an engaging culture. Work toward success together.

Read the original article:

Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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