Coaching Growth Helping others Leadership Mindset

Making people around you better

A players hire A players. B players hire B players. Leadership is often simple.

You’re number one responsibility as a leader is to make people around you better.

Much of your time at work should be dedicated to dialogue with people who will benefit and grow from your leadership.

There are companies where this is the case. One of the largest beer brewers in the world swears by the principle that leaders need to help their people develop.

At the same moment, they also are incredibly performance-driven. 

Stretch and care go hand in hand in their mind. It’s not one or the other. 

You can show care for your people and focus on their growth while stretching them for higher performance.

Michael Jordan is known for being more focused on improving the team than glorifying his talent and success.

It’s perhaps not how you have experienced his greatness, but that’s what his long-time Chicago Bulls coach Phil Jackson has shared.

He was not playing the game, ensuring he always got the ball. He wanted to make sure the team got better as a whole.

And if that meant they had to bring somebody on the team who was different, case in point ‘weirdo’ Dennis Rodman, they would do so.

Another way of making my point is that A players hire A players, and B players hire C players.

A players don’t care that another A player may be better. If so, they both win. It’s not about them; it’s about the team. 

B players are worried about their image and reputation, so they hire C players. For B players, it’s about them. Not the team.

So, are you an A player or a B player?

Do you make time for your team and your people to grow, or is your inbox the first and the last thing you look at daily?

Have you ever counted what percentage of your time you invest in helping your people grow? 

Is it one day per week, 20%, or even less? 20% sounds outrageous, doesn’t it, with everything on your plate?

You wouldn’t get any work done, right?


Executives at that same brewer spent about one-third of their time coaching, developing, and growing their people.

One third. That’s 33%. Or more than one day per week.

I have that information from more than one source. 

It’s in their DNA. It’s in their systems and processes. It’s a condition for employment. 

You don’t work there if you’re not willing to do that work.

But here’s what they know and believe to be true.

When you try to help your people grow, you’re, in the end, better off yourself.

When people around you get better, you get better!

Read that again. Please.

If you don’t want to invest the time because you’re worried about your job, position, image, career, income, bonus, or whatever it may be, your EGO is too big.

No, you can’t do everything better yourself. Perhaps you can for a day or two, but you always lose out in the end.

But perhaps it’s not about you having to invest time in making people better. Or it’s not about you doing it all better yourself.

Perhaps it’s because nobody helped you improve, and you’re the product of a system pushing performance without growing people.

Perhaps you just don’t know how to grow and develop people. Maybe you don’t know how to have a decent development conversation.

If so, don’t worry. You’re not the only one. But it’s time you start thinking differently.

Your turn: A player or B player?

Do more of what makes you happy!


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Erikjan Lantink
Business & Leadership Coach

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