Identifying and Encouraging Exceptional Employees

Picture of Gina Blitstein Gina Blitstein combines her insight as a fellow small business owner with her strong communication skills, exploring topics that enhance your business efforts. That first-hand knowledge, matched with an insatiable curiosity to know more about just about anything, makes her a well-rounded writer with a sincere desire to engage and inform.

Identifying and Encouraging Exceptional Employees

Consider your employees and their favorable attributes for a moment. Some may be highly skilled; others may be diligent; still others may be personable. But how many would you characterize as truly exceptional? An exceptional employee can be defined as the type of individual who stands out from the pack, proving to be be positively indispensable to your organization.

Your business’ exceptional employees have a “something extra,” above and beyond education, training, experience or even personality. They are trustworthy, have high expectations for themselves and others and are highly promotable. The personal characteristics that these individuals exhibit are certainly ones you’ll readily identify.

Characteristics that exceptional employees possess include:

The ability to keep their eye on the prize

Exceptional employees have a highly developed ability to focus; avoiding petty distractions. A workplace can be full of things to “do” at any given time; these employees keep things moving on a forward trajectory, regardless of the myriad of dramas that may be playing out in or around the business.

The ability to check their ego at the door

Exceptional employees recognize that it “takes a village” to get the job done, so no task is above or below them to perform. They will pitch in whenever and wherever necessary because in their mind, the job as a whole is more important than who ultimately makes individual contributions. This mindset extends to keeping an open mind when others’ ideas may conflict with their own.

A belief that there’s always room for improvement

Exceptional employees don’t rest on their laurels. They are enthusiastic proponents of personal and team growth for the betterment of the company. They believe that, no matter what has been accomplished, it can be improved in some measure moving forward. They take ownership of problems - as well as successes. To that end, they always have their eyes open for ways to improve processes, fix problems and combat complacent attitudes.

They own their actions

Even in the case of a significant error, exceptional employees take responsibility for the consequences of their decisions. They won’t pass the buck, even in the event of less-than-stellar results. When problems arise, they bring it to the attention of upper management proactively.

The ability to act gracefully in the face of conflict

Exceptional employees understand that conflict on the job is bound to happen from time to time. What makes them exceptional is that they remain calm and composed, retain an ability to employ logic to the situation, and avoid taking it personally. They tend to have a “way” with difficult people and easily neutralize escalating situations.

The courage and prudence to speak up when necessary

Exceptional employees aren’t the type to let a nagging question go unasked, even when others do. Additionally, they will bravely, yet respectfully, speak up to authority and challenge decisions when they disagree.

They come across as personable

Exceptional employees are well liked and emit an aura of integrity. Others trust them and tend to follow their lead, no matter their actual position. They make competent representatives of the company to customers and colleagues alike.

Imagine having a workforce full of such superstars - talk about a dream team! Fortunately for you, the qualities that make for an exceptional employee can be fostered among all the members your workforce. These are characteristics that can be learned and modeled; they can be adopted by other employees.

Your exceptional employees can serve as an additional asset to your business by matching them with other employees in a mentorship role. These highly-motivated employees will set the mold for their team members, encouraging them to adopt similar work behaviors. Your exceptional employees will no doubt appreciate the opportunity to showcase their passionate work ethic while helping your business refine its workforce.

How do you identify your exceptional employees?

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