Imagine being in a relationship with the greatest person you know. If you are married then you don’t have to imagine! Now think about if you stop getting to know that person, you stop pushing that person and encouraging them. You just assume that since they are so awesome that they are self satisfying. You may even think that they obviously know you adore them and respect them, but you spend your time with others and neglect them to an extent. How do you think that relationship will turn out?
I will answer based off experiences I have seen, and if you are married, I’d argue it typically would end in divorce or a nasty break up of some kind. Why is that? Because we often take people for granted. Once you take someone for granted and stop appreciating them for their worth, not only does this cause them to want to leave, especially when it comes to an A-Player at your work who is essential to the functionality of the company. It also causes you to be stuck with a lot more labor and now your life is much more miserable.
You may have had good intentions to help another employee be better, but that employee doesn’t mean as much to your company as your A-player did! I realize this is an unpopular thing to say, but some people are more valuable to a company than others simply because they are just better at the job, work harder, and care more.
If you take care of these people, whether it be showing them appreciation, paying them more, or whatever it is that spurs them on, then it will pay off in the long run. Spending more time with them is of far greater benefit to you than spending it with lower level employees because it frees you up to do what you need to, while your A-player can show lower level employees the appreciate they need as well.
We often times try and take on everything ourselves and lose focus on impact points where we can do the most good. Investing in your A-players more is the investment that will pay in dividends. They will also encourage you as a leader because they understand well and can even provide insight in areas that you may be blind.
Just like a good marriage, you must always take lots of time and put in effort to keep each other growing. If you don’t then one may go somewhere else looking for what they can get. Treat your A-players in this fashion. Make them know that they don’t have to go anywhere else. This is the job for them and there is no one who could do it better! Because the second you stop, they may go work for someone else and then you are stranded and struggling to make your company work alone. No one wants to be alone!