Earlier it was easy to spot an exceptional employee. The characteristics were quite easy to identify — hard working, punctual and abiding by the rules. However, now the scenario is entirely different, with changed work culture and heightened competition. These days employees are expected to be flexible with their approaches, multitask, and satisfy a diverse group of people. Loyal and dutiful no more remains the criteria for being an exceptional employee. Such employees might be liked by a handful of managers, but in this highly competitive world, an employee needs to have much more to become truly exceptional. An international study which surveyed around 500 business leaders to know what makes an employee exceptional revealed surprising conclusions. 78% of leaders said that personality is the main factor which makes an employee exceptional, 53% opined that cultural fit is important whereas only 39% of them voted for skills.
However, personality is a set of traits through which we approach the world and this differs for different people. Delving deeper into the study the researchers found that while saying personality, the leaders are actually referring to emotional intelligence (EQ). Exceptional employees do not have exceptional traits right from the beginning. They adapt to the work culture and develop their EQ in a way that makes them exceptional.
Let’s have a look at the important qualities which differentiate exceptional employees from others:
- Sharp Focus
Exceptional employees have a sharp focus. Employees are expected to complete multiple tasks in a day and also have to deal with a number of distractions at work. However, what makes an employee truly exceptional is their ability to stay focussed on important tasks.
- Solution Oriented
Exceptional employees try and find solutions to problems instead of letting them linger just because they have always been like that. They proactively take measures to improve processes through new and innovative solutions.
- Getting the Job Done
Exceptional employees believe in getting the job done no matter what. They go beyond their job descriptions and work hard to get the job done. They stay late, arrive early and do whatever it takes to complete the task. You would seldom hear an exceptional employee saying “that’s not my job.”
- Manage Conflicts Well
Conflicts often arise in the workplaces and exceptional employees know how to handle them. Instead of ignoring the problem or conflicts they try to find ways to resolve them.
Managers can count on them for getting the tasks done. Also, they take accountability for their actions. When they make mistakes, they admit their fault and take up responsibility to fix it.
- Constant Urge to Improve
Exceptional employees do not settle for what they have. They are always trying to improve their skills, become more efficient and achieve more.
- Not Affected by Toxic People
You will, almost always, find one or more toxic people in your organization who not only damage the work environment but are also difficult to deal with. Exceptional employees know how to deal with such people and have the ability to control their emotions, not letting negativity affect them.
- Voice Their Opinion
It’s important to voice your opinions and it’s even more important to know when to voice your opinions. Exceptional employees know the best time and place to put forward their views, challenge the decisions and make suggestions.
- Know How to Control Their Ego
Like everyone else, exceptional employees too have ego but they know how to control it. They are willing to admit their faults and, whenever required, ready to perform a task as someone else directs. They value team harmony and efficiency more than their ego.
- Brand Ambassadors
Exceptional employees are well liked and respected by their co-workers for their integrity and leadership skills, even though they are not in leadership positions. Also, they can be trusted for representing the brand while dealing with clients and prospects.
Exceptional employees are hard to find and are assets for the organizations. Every organization must hire such employees and after having them onboard it must be ensured that they are rightly engaged and retained. Such employees never disappoint and help the organization grow.
What’s your idea of an exceptional employee? Write in the comments below.