20 Traits of an All-Star Employee

What traits make for a great employee?  Depending on who you ask, there are thousands of possible answers to this question.  We narrowed down the list, collecting the qualities that tie together top-performing employees.  See what traits will bring out your inner star and how they apply to any job. 

  1. Ethical

Quality of work means nothing if it comes at the cost of an individual’s integrity or reflects poorly upon their organization. 

  1. Reliable

When a project/task is assigned that project/task will be completed; or if there are bumps in the road, there is early notification of those bumps and ideas for how the team can reach the main goal through an alternate path. 

  1. Results-driven

Outcomes must be used to inform future strategy or processes won’t improve.

  1. Innovative

They know that to get better results, they must try new things.

  1. Team-oriented

They listen respectfully to other peoples’ ideas without judgment; they ask for and offer support to their teammates.

  1. Curious

They have a mindset which tends to build relationships, promote healthy dialog, expand ideas, encourage the upward flow of ideas and stimulate innovation. They always look for the possibilities in an idea. 

  1. Accountable

They ask the question “what more can I/we do to get the results we desire?” 

  1. Assume positive intent 

They assume the best in others and believe that everyone is doing the best they can, given their current thinking. They do not act on their assumptions. 

  1. Good listener

They give someone their full attention in conversation and don’t multi-task while listening; they hear the entire message, understand beyond the words being spoken and gain deeper insight and perspective. 

  1. Appreciative

They appreciate positive behavior that strengthens relationships and improves morale. 

  1. Energetic

They have a positive attitude and are enthusiastic. 

  1. Role Model/Leader 

They are conscious of the shadow they cast and model the behaviors and attitudes that they want to see in their colleagues. 

  1. Good communicator 

They are able to make themselves understood and do not hesitate to ask others for clarification when necessary. 

  1. Supportive

They try to understand their teammates’ perspectives when deciding how best to support each other.  

  1. Flexible

They are able to work with a variety of personalities, in a variety of conditions, and are willing to adapt to address unfamiliar or changing obstacles.

  1. Self-motivated 

Their work ethic is fueled by a personal desire to succeed, rather than drawn from an external source.

  1. Honest 

Trust is crucial to working as a team, and honesty is the key to establishing trust in a relationship.

  1. Passionate

They allow themselves to become emotionally invested in their work, which yields better outcomes.

  1. Detail-oriented 

Little mistakes can have big consequences, so they pay attention to the details, which allows them to understand the bigger picture. 

  1. Persistent 

When they face a tricky problem, they dig their teeth in rather than admitting defeat. 

Are you Management Material?

Are you Management Material?

Being a boss can be very rewarding, and when you’ve gained a lot of expertise in your area, the next logical step is often becoming a manager.

But management is certainly not for everyone. In fact, when a supervisor role isn’t a good fit, it can damage an otherwise promising career, so it should be considered very carefully. Here are three questions to ask yourself before becoming a manager:

  1. Are you motivated by reaching your own professional goals, or by helping others achieve their professional goals? There is not a right or wrong answer here. It’s really about what personally motivates you. Do you prefer having more control over your work product, or are you willing to work through others by teaching and mentoring them through the process? And keep in mind that those you manage may not do things exactly the way you would have. Will you get satisfaction from watching them develop and solve problems?
  2. Are you comfortable being an outsider and making unpopular decisions? As a manager, you’re less likely to receive open and transparent communication from your employees as you would as a department colleague. You’ll never again be “just one of the team” as you were before you were a manager. You’re the one who has to push team members along a path, and sometimes tell them they’re not getting the job done. A regular part of a manager’s job is dealing with problem performers, incredibly demanding employees or employees who question everything you do. These are complex issues and you need to possess excellent communication skills. You also need to have confidence in your decision-making abilities because your team isn’t always going to agree with you.
  3. Do you prefer to do your job with few interruptions, or are you willing to be interrupted regularly?If you mostly want to focus on completing your own work, management might not be for you. Managers have to embrace an open-door policy knowing that they will be pulled into conversations and issues they didn’t anticipate every day, often from team members who say, “This will just take a minute …” These interruptions are part of the job, and sometimes that means doing your “regular work” after hours.

Becoming a manager is not for everyone. If you have a well-defined career path as an individual contributor and you’re approached about taking the next step in your career by moving into management, proceed with caution and accept the job for the right reasons.

Never move into management simply because it’s different than the job you have, especially if you’re not really passionate about the role. However, if you feel the desire to expand your skill set and are excited at the thought of taking on greater management responsibilities, becoming a manager can be an incredibly rewarding and challenging role.