5 Things That Make Exceptional Employees Stand out

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The lifeblood of any organization for better or worse runs through the group’s workforce, so identifying exceptional employees allows you the opportunity to nurture those seeds of their enthusiasm, energy, and drive to take maximum advantage of their potential. Building a stellar team does not materialize out of whole cloth, but rather is stitched together over time with the individual threads that your employees represent. Unfortunately, employee dissatisfaction often results when talents go under-utilized or unappreciated, so spotting the exceptional team member is the first job of the manager.

Standard interview questions and performance reviews do very little to single out the exceptional employee from the rest of the herd. For the managerial team looking to identify those candidates, it is always better to monitor daily attitudes and motivations of your employee over the quarterly review scores emerging from the human resources office. Keep an eye out for these five distinctive behavioral and performance indicators that indicate an exceptional employee.

1. View their Job Description as a starting point

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The exceptional employee views their job description as a mere starting point when it comes to taking on the daily challenges that any growing or established company might face on a day-to-day basis. Their primary goal is to get the job done when they see that their assistance will help get the project to completion. Once this behavioral pattern begins to assert itself, you know that you have a dedicated team member placing the organization’s goals above the petty complaints of employees who jealously guard their time behind the safety of their job description.

2. Quirky and Independent Personalities

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A quirky and independent personality is not only refreshing in the confines of the typical business environment, but its presence also signals the confidence of the owner because quirky personalities naturally tend to push the status quo in innovative directions while shaking up the “group think” that can fester around the boardroom table. Such a personality type looks at the world from a different angle than the employee sitting in the next cubical, and that altered perception helps fuel constructive attitudes throughout every office in the building. Conversely, the excellent employee also knows when to place those quirky traits in a drawer when the job at hand calls for pure reasoning and professionalism. In short, they know when it is time to play and when it is time to work.

3. Diplomacy and Tact

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It’s been noted that most people learn the basics of their social skills by the age of five, and it is as good a starting place as any when it comes to analyzing your employee’s ability to get along with supervisors, subordinates, and peer groups. The exceptional employee understands that social interaction goes a long way toward greasing the wheels of camaraderie that helps propel the organization’s goals. Free with praise, they offer congratulations to co-workers who have earned it, and are supportive to those in need of bolstering to complete their tasks. Identifying exceptional employees that practice these socially interactive skills is important because these actions serve to elevate the entire work staff and act as a marker of managerial talent.

4. Understand How to Read “the Room”

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The savvy employee is capable of “reading the room” and acting and thinking quickly on their feet regardless of the situation at hand. Team members that exhibit the ability to roll with the punches means that that employee can respond to a wide array of circumstances and that will prove an advantage for the entire organization. Utilizing their education, experience, intelligence, and talents, the exceptional employee stands out from the crowd on a daily basis.

5. Asks Questions and Willing to Explore

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The exceptional employee is not afraid to ask questions and explore options. Unfortunately, many team members are afraid to express themselves to the group as a whole and oftentimes even in private. Similarly, exceptional employees look at company policies and procedures with an eye toward improving the mousetrap that they inherited in an effort to make all aspects of the company’s systems more efficient.

Identifying and cultivating superior talent should be your first job in the managerial role, so look beyond the pencil and paper evaluations of the human resource department, and keep your eye on the day-to-day behavior that shows the true potential of your employees.

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