Everyone can spot a great employee: they show up on time, take pride in their work and have positive performance evaluations. Exceptional employees, on the other hand, aren’t as easy to find. To determine if an employee is truly exceptional, business owners must look beyond annual reviews and performance metrics.
Exceptional employees are nimble; they think on their feet and do whatever it takes to get things done, especially when something goes wrong or is ‘not within their job description.’ They’re quirky, but know when to put their individuality aside to be an effective team player. Exceptional employees aren’t afraid to ask questions or praise others publicly.
A study of business leaders found the No. 1 thing that set employees apart was “personality.” A deeper dive reveals that “personality” refers to a unique set of Emotional Intelligence (EQ) skills described below in a recent Forbes article.
- They’re willing to delay gratification. They forge ahead in their work without expecting recognition or compensation to come first.
- They can tolerate conflict. While they don’t seek conflict, when it arises they are able to keep their composure and navigate disagreements without running away.
- They focus. They aren’t easily distracted and can differentiate between real problems and everyday ‘noise.’
- They’re judiciously courageous. They speak up when others won’t while balancing common sense and appropriate timing.
- They’re in control of their egos. They’re willing to admit when they’re wrong and do things someone else’s way.
- They’re never satisfied. They believe things can always be better and constantly strive to make improvements.
- They recognize when things are broken and fix them. They treat problems as opportunities to find a better way.
- They’re accountable. They own up to their work, decisions and results – good or bad.
- They’re marketable. They’re well-liked by their coworkers and have leadership skills and integrity.
- They neutralize toxic people. When faced with toxic people or situations, they keep their feelings in check and are able to find solutions and common ground.
While skills and training are important, it takes more than knowledge and experience to be exceptional. These types of employees are few and far between, so if you have one or two on your team, be sure to let them know how important they are to you and your business.