If you’re familiar with Gallup’s Strengths methodology, you know the power of playing to your strengths: the idea is to capitalize on what you’re naturally good at rather than devoting lost effort to your weak areas.

A similar dynamic plays out in organizations. Managers can cripple their teams when they focus on fixing the weak links at the expense of spending time identifying and developing top performers.

It can feel uncomfortable to spend less time on the squeaky wheels and more on the proven performers, but no company should operate like a halfway house for wayward professionals.  Can you pick out the powerhouse employees in your company?

Spotting the A-Players on Your Team

Unfortunately, picking out the A-players isn’t as simple as it might seem.

A-players aren’t always the loudest people in the room, or the ones who spend the most hours per day in a swivel chair. They’re not the ones who use words like “ninja,” “rockstar,” or “Jedi” on their resumes. And even when you’ve hired someone who was indisputably an A-player in a previous role, you have to make sure they’re also an A-player at your company.

To find out which people drive the team’s success, look for these behaviors as employees go about their day-to-day work:

1. A-players serve something bigger than themselves. A-players feel ownership over any project they are involved in, including the parts they aren’t directly responsible for. They are disappointed when a goal isn’t achieved, even when their piece of it was achieved. And they tend to offer help to others just to serve the bigger purpose of the goal.

At the same time, A-players don’t take achievement or non-achievement of the goal personally. Although they learn from successes and failures alike (see behavior #4), they don’t waste time or energy on being defensive, allocating blame or credit, or getting entangled in office politics. Instead, they’ll devote the majority of their effort toward solving the problems that matter to their team and company.

2. A-players communicate early on when they face a challenge. If you sit down with an employee toward the end of a quarter and they tell you for the first time that they are way off on their goals, they are not an A-player.

When obstacles crop up, A-players try to solve them quickly and bring in reinforcements early when that doesn’t happen. They don’t try to hide the problem or stay in denial that it will just fix itself. If you suggest someone helps them with the problem, they’ll value that help, regardless of the person’s title or level in the organization.

3. A-players push themselves without taking on too much. A-players are masters of the fine balance between realistic goals and stretch goals. While poor performers are likely to either set the bar low—making their lives easier—or agree to super-ambitious goals they’ll never reach, A-players understand the importance of taking on a doable level of work and saying no to tasks that are too much.

If A-players end up completing work sooner than expected, they take on additional challenges that are important to the success of the business.

4. A-players learn from their experiences, positive and negative. Ask an A-player about a successful project they’ve worked on, and they’ll be able to tell you what went well, which activities and approaches their team found effective and will use again next time around.

Ask them about a project that didn’t go so well, and they can tell you about how and why it went off the rails, and what exactly they plan to do differently next time.

You won’t hear things like, “Gosh, guess we’ll just have to try again next time.” You’re more likely to hear, “Well, X tactic didn’t work, so we’re gearing up to try Y, which we think will work because . . .”

5. A-players aren’t afraid to get creative. Most of the time, there isn’t one right way to solve a problem. When the ball is in their court, A-players solve the problem the best way they know how to solve it, and they don’t limit themselves by how it’s been done before or how their peers would solve it. They don’t keep themselves or their teams in boxes, based on role or tenure. Instead, they understand where their strengths lie (and those of their team) and take creative initiative to achieve the desired outcome.

When an employee displays these five behaviors regularly, you have an A-player on your hands, someone who’s going to give your company a significant competitive edge.