Everyone is in the \u2018war for talent\u2019 looking to attract and retain those \u201cA\u201d players, the rock stars, that move the team forward and keep them ahead of the game. However, not all \u201cA\u201d players are winning the \u201cPresidents Club\u201d awards, working with your top customers or in a high profile role. The challenge is knowing what a rock star looks like in your office, and especially your team, and identifying the unsung heroes who may be delivering outstanding results without fanfare and hoopla.\nHere are nine characteristics that may help you to recognize your hidden gems and unsung \u201cA\u201d players.\n1. \u201cA\u201d players are a pressure valve, not a pressure cooker\nYour rock stars aren't just smart, they don't just have functional expertise, they also have people expertise. They are tuned into the moods of others on the team and can sense when things are tense. They are able to lighten the atmosphere with [appropriate] humor, or provide the perfect piece of advice just at the right time to ensure that any stress is released appropriately.\n2. \u201cA\u201d players anticipate the needs of others\n Ruby Vesely\nYour great employees are looking ahead and anticipating the needs of the team, their colleagues and of their boss. They are the ones who are taking action, before it's needed, rather than reacting after the situation. Who have the report or presentation created in draft ready for the team to finish and deliver.\u00a0Ruby, one of the many rock stars in SkyeTeam, is like the character Radar from Mash. She always seems to be planning two or three steps ahead, anticipating the needs of the team and our clients, which means we are on top of our game, always.\n3. \u201cA\u201d players bring solutions, not problems\nThings will not always be smooth sailing. Your great employees will be those who fix problems before they become big issues, while it's still the proverbial molehill and not yet a mountain. Where they can\u2019t solve the problem without your input then they don\u2019t just bring it and dump it on your desk, invariably they will have recommendations and possible solutions to overcome it.\n4. \u201cA\u201d players are eager learners\nA great employee is someone who is always looking for opportunities to learn and grow. Whether it\u2019s diving into a new project, spending time reviewing company documents, or attending a conference. They don\u2019t let the grass grow under their feet! Continuous improvement, not just of process and systems but of themselves is how your rock stars operate.\n5. \u201cA\u201d players share their learning\nYour great employees don\u2019t just keep their learning to themselves. They also look to build the capabilities of the team by sharing their observations and insights. They'll make recommendations for learning resources, books, videos, workshops etc. that may benefit the team. They are proactive in providing peer coaching and feedback. Their drive is to help the team learn and grow together.\n6. \u201cA\u201d players disagree when needed\nYour valuable employees are not simply seen and not heard. They also speak up and challenge the status quo (and you) when needed. Whether it\u2019s asking \u201cwhy,\u201d \u201cwhat if\u201d or \u201chow,\u201d they are not afraid to ask the tough questions or to say "that sounds daft" in a way that encourages debate not defensiveness, an approach that increases learning and understanding and ultimately results in better quality decisions, and implementation of those decisions.\n7. \u201cA\u201d players are empowered to know when to lead and when to follow\nYour rock stars are those who use initiative and make things happen \u2013 who step up and lead without asking for permission. They are also the employees who get behind a decision or idea and make it a reality, who can follow and implement the decisions or plans. Your valuable employees are empowered and take personal accountability for their role and contribution to the team.\n8. \u201cA\u201d players make delivering high standards look easy\nYour great employees are those who deliver results but require minimum supervision. They make things look effortless, and create the processes, systems and procedures that enable others to be efficient and effortless too.\n9. \u201cA\u201d players create a fun atmosphere\nAt SkyeTeam, "fun" appears 3 times in our 5 corporate values. This is critical to what makes us special \u2013 as a team we start every meeting with \u201cRipples and Joys\u201d (an idea we adopted from CityYear Denver) and celebrate our successes personal and professional. We also look to have fun with our clients, to make working with us easy, fun and effective. Life is too short to take it seriously all the time.\nThese are our characteristics for your rock stars \/ A players. What would you add to this list?\u00a0More to the point, who are your rock stars and unsung team members? And what's one thing\u00a0you do today to ensure they feel valued for their contribution to the team?