Last weekend, "Black Panther" roared into theaters with dramatic success. Similarly, "Wonder Woman" had an impressive box office performance last year. The investment the studios made in these movies paid off, but they were not sure things when they placed the bet.

There was a widely-held belief among studios that movies with predominantly black casts, or superhero movies with female leads, simply did not perform as well. The belief wasn't totally without merit (sorry, Elektra), but it also wasn't highly tested. But these two movies shattered expectations, and businesses should take notice.

What "Black Panther" and "Wonder Woman" have taught movie studio executives is applicable in any business. Sometimes the employees you assume will be under- or average performers, are actually superstars in the making. So don't assume your assumptions are true!

Here are characteristics to look for in undercover superstars in your office:

1. Consistent Improvement

Superhero origin stories often involve struggling misfits. They might be a diamond in the rough at the beginning, but give them a chance, and they will shine. Even Wonder Woman and The Black Panther aren't fully formed heroes from birth. Like them, the superstars in your company might not have discovered all their powers in the beginning. But over time, they will reveal their true superhero colors. You can help bring them along by offering mentoring, training, and encouragement.

2. Comfortable With Conflict

Real superheroes are always ready to confront a challenge. Whether it's an enemy intending harm, or a friend offering constructive criticism, superheroes handle confrontations with alacrity. Office superheroes are similarly comfortable working with difficult colleagues and demanding clients. They seek out feedback from bosses, and aren't afraid to present their ideas, even if they go against the grain.

3. Always Willing to Do More...

Superheroes always want to do the best they can to solve a problem. They don't mind going the extra mile to get the job done. Superstars in your office share this trait, demonstrating a can-do attitude and a willingness to be a team player. And they don't do it just for praise and credit, either - they want the best result, even if they don't get the glory.

4. ...But Know When to Ask for Help

If The Avengers taught anything, it's that even superheroes work better when they're part of a team. In their own movies, Wonder Woman works with the Allies to liberate villagers, and Black Panther requests assistance from M'Baku. Superstars in your office, too, know when they can't go it alone. They're not afraid to ask for help, and they do it before they start sinking and putting the whole project at risk.

5. Anticipate Needs

Superheroes never go in unprepared. They learn the skills they need to defeat their enemies before they ever fight, and they arrive to the fight with top-notch equipment. Superstars in your office are comprehensive planners. They attack a problem from all angles, and anticipate what could go wrong before it happens. Even if what happens isn't a specific outcome they prepared for, they're still in a far better position to handle what comes their way.

6. Good Attitude

Sometimes superheroes are unassuming and quiet, which can make them especially difficult to identify. But their ability to be pleasant and blend in is as much a superpower as any other on this list. Attitude is everything, and the superheroes in your office have a tangible impact on the atmosphere. Colleagues become more enthusiastic, harder workers when they're around the superstar.

Published on: Feb 21, 2018