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Are You a Workplace Rock Star or Superstar?

Updated: Aug 30, 2022

Are you a rock star at your job? Or are you a superstar?

Chances are, you're one or the other - and that's a good thing!

In one of my favorite books, Radical Candor, Kim Scott defines these two types of workers and explains why they're both valuable in the workplace. While this book was written for bosses and managers, I've found that it contains a lot of empowering information for employees on their career journey.

So, how do you know which one you are? And more importantly, how can you use that information to have better conversations with your boss about your career path? Read on to find out!

What is a Workplace Rock Star in Radical Candor?

A workplace rock star is someone who is excellent at their job. They have a deep understanding of their work, and they enjoy what they do. Still, they aren't looking to take on any more responsibility than they already have. Workplace rock stars are content with their current position and don't feel the need to constantly prove themselves or move up the ladder.

Why are Workplace Rock Stars Valuable?

While they might not be looking to take on more responsibility, workplace rock stars are exceptionally valuable. They're the reliable members of their team that keep things running smoothly. They know their work inside and out, typically completing their tasks with incredible speed and accuracy. Their passion and knowledge allows them to be a wealth of information for other team members.

What is a Workplace Superstar in Radical Candor?

A workplace superstar is a results-driven employee that is great at their job and is on a rapid growth trajectory. They're eager to move up the ranks within the business and will commit the extra time and effort required to achieve their goals. These employees are the members of their team that are willing to take risks, are unafraid to share their innovative ideas, and are always looking for new opportunities to develop their skills.

Why are Workplace Superstars Valuable?

Workplace superstars are ambitious and driven, always looking for ways to improve their skills and contribute to their team's success. They're often the first to volunteer for new assignments or projects, and they're not afraid of a challenge. These employees are always looking for ways to add value to their team and the business, serving as exceptional motivators and future leaders within the organization.

So, Which One are You?

It's important to understand that rock stars and superstars are both top performers; it's their motivations and goals that differ. As an employee, it's helpful to know which one you are so that you can better communicate your career aspirations to your boss.

What Your Answer Means For Your Manager

If you're a workplace rock star:

Your boss should know that you're content with your current position and responsibilities and that you would prefer to not be considered for a promotion unless otherwise discussed. Let them know that you would prefer to be evaluated based on your consistent output and contributions to the team rather than your leadership skills or promotion potential.

If you're a workplace superstar:

Your boss should know that you're ambitious and eager to take on more responsibility. Use your performance review to discuss your career goals and what you need to do to achieve them. Be prepared to share your innovative ideas and take on additional assignments or projects.

If you're unsure how to navigate these conversations, I'd be happy to help. As a career coach, I've helped countless clients develop strategies and talking points so they can effectively communicate their career aspirations to their managers.


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