Ever wondered what it would take to be named the ‘Employee of the Century’? What qualities would they need to have?
Employers always look for certain qualities in their staff. It’s not just about being someone they can count on. Of course, being trustworthy, having a strong moral compass, and maintaining high standards are essential for a company’s success.
But there’s more to being an excellent employee than the well-known virtues like discipline, initiative, timeliness, and a zeal for work.
What really makes some employees stand out from the crowd of competent workers? Let’s delve a little deeper.
After reading several articles on what makes an employee truly exceptional, I stumbled upon some key characteristics that separate the best from the rest.
Curious about what makes these ‘elite’ employees shine? Here’s the scoop:
1. Be Brave Enough to Speak Up
Think the best employees are the ones who follow every rule? Think again. Sometimes organizations or bosses don’t get it right, and that’s when an employee who can challenge the status quo and question decisions shines as a true asset.
But this doesn’t mean you should be a rebel just for the sake of it. That could get you labeled as a troublemaker. The trick is knowing when to fully back your team and when to raise concerns for the company’s benefit.
When you challenge a decision or a practice that seems wrong, you may stick out. But remember, change often faces resistance because it’s uncertain.
“Will it work?” and “What does it mean for me?” are questions people will naturally ask. Your job is to ease their worries by addressing these concerns when you propose a new idea.
2. Focus on Solutions, Not Blame
Remember, if you’re not helping to solve a problem, you might as well be adding to it. Staying uninvolved doesn’t help; it allows issues to fester and potentially get worse.
It’s easy to spend time pointing fingers, but isn’t it better to use that time to solve the issue instead? Although it’s common to blame others to protect oneself, this is a trap you want to avoid if you aim to stand out.
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Start by looking for ways to fix or improve the situation. Once things are back on track, then you might consider understanding the cause or who might be responsible.
But remember, everyone makes mistakes, so don’t rush to judge.
3. Go Above and Beyond
Top-notch employees don’t just work a job; they’re driven by a belief in what they do and a constant drive to make things better. This mindset fuels their willingness to go above and beyond.
This could mean starting new projects, doing more than what’s asked, staying late, or even volunteering for extra tasks.
Yet, a tell-tale sign of commitment is when an employee doesn’t stick rigidly to the rules. They might bend them occasionally, not out of defiance, but because they prioritize the company’s vision and goals and can judge when it’s beneficial to make an exception.
You may wonder, how does this define going the extra mile?
It’s about more than just following procedures to avoid trouble; it’s about being prepared to face challenges for the company’s broader objectives. That takes courage and dedication beyond what’s normally expected.
4. Lead by Example
Leaders are essential in any organization because they’re the decision-makers and the ones who inspire everyone to pursue common goals. That’s why employees who show leadership potential are greatly valued.
Companies often spot potential leaders and provide training or seminars to prepare them for future leadership roles. These employees are seen as the company’s future.
Leadership isn’t just for those with a formal title. You can lead in many situations, like speaking up for colleagues when they’re hesitant – this shows bravery and sets you apart (this ties back to point #1).
When you advocate for others and take the risk of standing out, you earn respect as a leader.
Read Also: Manager or Leader: Which Are You?
An employee who maintains a positive attitude and sets a strong example is a role model. A good employee showcases leadership not just during crises but in how they handle everyday tasks at work.
Just like Rome wasn’t built in a day, becoming recognized as a leader is a gradual process that requires consistency.
5. Master Interpersonal Skills
In any company, no matter the industry, people skills are highly prized. Even if you’re working behind the scenes with little client interaction, you still need to communicate effectively to perform your job well.
This is crucial not just in dealings with clients, but also in relationships with your boss and colleagues. There will be times when you’ll need help or support, and that’s when your people skills shine.
So, why are people skills so important? They determine how well you connect with others. Without the ability to understand someone else’s perspective, you can’t grasp their needs or share your ideas effectively. Teamwork is a big part of working in an organization.
If you’re a good communicator and can even influence your team, the possibilities for what you can achieve together are limitless.
In point #4, I talked about how companies identify and develop leadership qualities for future roles. The idea is that a truly exceptional employee is always evolving, ready to take on new and bigger responsibilities as they come.
People skills are so vital in numerous roles, especially managerial ones, that being adept in interpersonal relations greatly increases an employee’s value.