Always bring your “A” Game. Know when to be the “Minus.”
What the hell does this mean? Who wants to be a Minus? Doesn’t everyone want to be a plus?
And sometimes it is important, even necessary, to be the Minus. Let me explain.
First, I think it is important to make clear that “A Game” individuals and “Type A” individuals have characteristics that overlap…extensively. Both are generally known to be knowledgeable, organized and prepared. Type A’s are also known to be direct, unyielding and curt. A Game individuals are, arguably, a bit less rigid. Sometimes, they are charming, accommodating and pleasant. Other times, they cannot be differentiated from the Type A group.
Looking more closely at those who bring their A Game, in addition to being knowledgeable, organized and prepared, these folks also possess the following traits:
Yes, an overarching confidence is woven through all of these traits, and no, these folks are never described as wilting violets. With all of the above noted, it is understandable why “A Game” individuals are highly sought.
Taking all of this into account, why would anyone want to be a Minus? To that very good question, I have the following answer: when a person embraces his or her Minus, he or she practices the aforementioned skills by merging strengths with knowledge and wisdom. To be more specific, a Minus routinely operates by doing the following:
1. Never needing to be the center of attention.
Understanding that the goal is not to be on stage, but to close the deal, or complete the task, is understood by the Minus. Removing him or herself from the equation will always occur to achieve the goal.
2. Listening to everything.
They listen to what everyone says, no matter that person’s level of experience. Much can be learned about another, or about a situation, simply by listening.
3. Knowing when not to speak.
They have learned that it is incredibly important to know when not to speak.
4. Communicating with respect, professionalism and knowledge.
The Minus can deal with unreasonable people in a professional and respectful manner. They are always careful when they communicate, and will admit if they do not have the answer.
5. Are acquainted with every detail.
The devil is in the details, a fact Minuses have usually learned the hard way. It follows that the details can change how a situation is handled, and how it is resolved.
6. During negotiations, they are persistent and patient, but not pushy.
Minuses know when to push an issue, when to keep pressure on an issue, and how to relay that issue without pounding it to death.
7. Never sidestep the hard conversations.
However difficult, they never shirk this responsibility.
8. Will take responsibility for their own actions and the actions taken by those who work for them.
Minuses understand that they are the leaders, so all mistakes fall to them. Taking responsibility is never in question. However, they never play the role of martyr.
9. Ethics and morals are never traded.
To the Minus, these are not tradable commodities. They will not trade their moral or ethical compass to close a deal or win a case.
Overall, the distinction between the “Type A” and the “A Minus” is, arguably, temperament. The Minus has all the Type A skills, and the temperament to lead and/or close a deal without needing to be in the spotlight.
So, embrace your Minus. It is your greatest asset.