It is commonly said that a great employee stands out above the rest. We all know the ones – dependable, proactive, hardworking. They possess the skills most commonly sort – easily defined but hard to find. There are some employees, which surpass this honour. A rare breed not often recognised, that possess unique skills and qualities which propel them past their colleagues. These individuals are often overlooked on performance appraisals but ave a huge impact on team and company performance. These exceptional employees are hard to find.
We have identified 8 signs of a truly exceptional employee:
1. Think outside of the box (or job description)
Creative thinkers which are constantly pushing the boundaries of their position description. Exceptional employees have the ability to think quickly, adapt to shifting priorities and a willingness to do whatever it takes. These employees work to make their own role redundant within the company, constantly striving for efficiency and growth.
2. A personality which sticks (Some people call me quirky..)
Sometimes the best employee is also the most unconventional employee. Exceptional employees are often a little eccentric, sometimes even irreverent, yet they are delighted to be so. Such qualities can be a daunting addition to your team, however, the unusual mix can transform a plain vanilla workplace into one of rocky-road, with chunks of productivity and creativity- yum! Individuals who are unafraid of being different naturally stretch boundaries opening up opportunities for development of business ideas.
3. Know when to reign in their individuality
While the benefits of being odd are great, an eccentric creative approach is not always the best. A true mark of an exceptional employee is the ability to switch between being a logical, measured leader and a creative, approachable team member. The best employees know when to turn off/ down their individuality and respond to a task in the most appropriate manner. Exceptional employees understand when to play/ when to be serious; when to be erratic/ when to conform and when to challenge/ when to back off. It’s a balancing act which only a few rare individuals can master.
4. Credit where credit is due
A truly great employee recognised good work when they see it, regardless of who produced it. They support the team and the overall objectives and are motivated by reaching goals together. Individuals who can whole heartedly support their peers and acknowledge achievement in public gain respect and support.
5. Sensitive to turbulence
We all want employees to bring issues forward, but it goes without saying somethings are better handles in private. Great employees often prefer to voice controversial subjects in a group setting feeding off the comments of those around them. An exceptional employees is not afraid to approach you alone. These individuals come to you personally to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could be detrimental.
6. Ask questions when others won’t
Not all of your employees will come to you when they need to. Which is part and parcel in a diverse well rounded team. Just one exceptional employee can unite a team through an innate feel for the issues and concerns of those around them. All it takes is one employee to step up to ask the question or raise the issue when others hesitate.
7. A desire to prove other people wrong
When an individual’s work ethic is driven by a burning desire to prove someone or something wrong, they are working for something greater than just your organisation. Education, intelligence, talent, and skill are important, but drive is critical. Exceptional employees are often driven by something deeper and more personal than just wanting to do a good job.
8. Never finished
Some people cannot be satisfied. Individuals with a true passion and drive are constantly working to achieve a level which is forever out of reach. Good employees follow processes not looking past the finished point. Great employees tweak processes. Exceptional employees reinvent processes, not because they are expected to…but because they just can’t help themselves.