Are You “Average?” B Players Can Still Stand Out!

Average. Mediocre. Ordinary. Do you describe yourself with any of these terms, or has anyone else? Never heard someone utter “MVP” nor “overachiever” in relation to you?

Take heart, there is still a valuable place for you in the work world even if you weren’t class president, didn’t lead a committee to record fundraising, haven’t worked in management at a global corporation, or weren’t a star athlete or had the lead role in a play. Those so-called “A” players typically take on leadership roles, are star performers and are determined to work their way up in a business. But as noted in ’Let’s Hear It for B Players’ in the Harvard Business Review, “Companies’ long-term performance– even survival– depends far more on the unsung commitment and contributions of their B players. These capable, steady performers are the best supporting actors of the business world.”

Studies have shown that approximately 80% of the American workforce is composed of “B” players who do the bulk of work and are essential to an organization’s productivity and success. B players tend to be reliable, dedicated employees that provide organizations a rational and stable base.  So even if you aren’t #1 at everything you try, don’t be discouraged. Embrace the characteristics that can make you a real asset to an organization:

  • Reliability: Emphasize your attendance records and punctuality
  • Collaboration: Give examples of your contributions to a team and how your input helped reach or exceed goals
  • Communication: Stress that you are prepared to ask questions when needed to accomplish tasks and effectively communicate ideas, concerns, and thoughts to colleagues
  • Adaptability: Discuss how you can eagerly accept direction and constructive criticism from others and learn new concepts
  • Analytical: If it fits, consider sharing your ability to analyze a situation from every angle. Can you serve as the rational voice in an otherwise heated, emotional discussion or decision?
  • Productive: Emphasize your dependability in meeting deadlines, staying focused, and accentuate your willingness to take on extra projects

Stand out by highlighting the above assets as they relate to you, or anything else that will make you a vital part of your potential employer’s team.  Remember it’s all relative to the other applicants, and you may just be the perfect fit for the job opening at hand.

This article was adapted from that authored by Bonnie Johnson of first appearing in the August 2, 2017 newsletter blog.

By Paul Gagnon
Paul Gagnon Career Consultant, College of Agriculture, Health, and Natural Resources Paul Gagnon