Article originally published on Inc.
An employee doesn’t have to be a top salesperson to bring exponential value to a company. Amazing employees stand out from the crowd in many other ways. Simply put, their contribution far outweighs their cost, regardless of their expense.
Many employers today are willing to pay top dollar for the right people, but often they wouldn’t recognize those “A” players, because they aren’t looking for the right traits or they are too self-absorbed to know a good thing when they have it. Well, here is a list of traits that can easily be observed for solid company ROI.
If you are an employee, strive to make each of these a habit. If you are an employer, appreciate and reward the behavior.
1. They don’t wait to be asked.
Many employers are accustomed to just telling people what to do. Employees create value when they anticipate what is needed and get it done without any prompting.
2. They attack the disease, not the symptoms.
So much company time goes to firefighting on a reactive basis. Employees create value when they assess the root cause of the problems and make systemic change that eliminates the problems completely.
3. They are the pressure release, not the pressure builder.
Stress is natural in the workplace, and uptight people can feed off each other. Employees create value when they help people decompress so they can improve productivity.
4. They plan the work and work the plan.
Haphazard thinking and action usually delivers mediocre results. Employees create value when they add effective structure and drive the team forward with efficiency.
5. They do their homework.
Idea generation is useful, but not every suggestion is beneficial or appropriate. The wrong proposal can cause distraction or even derail the team. Employees create value when they research ideas before implementation so that little effort is wasted on the unachievable.
6. They look to be smarter than the boss.
People are never infallible, and even leaders need to learn. Employees create value when they bring knowledge to the table that fills the boss’s blind spots.
7. They view the path five steps ahead.
Many workers can barely see the tasks right in front of their face. Employees create value when they are looking out beyond step one and two. Often they will solve issues before they even come close to occurring.
8. They act with the big picture in mind.
People who only work in their own isolation often cause challenges for those in other parts of the company. Employees create value when they work to comprehend how their efforts impact the whole so they can adjust accordingly.
9. They build bridges, not bombs.
There are plenty of people looking to sabotage others while trying to get ahead. Employees create value when they encourage camaraderie and an environment where a rising tide lifts all boats.
10. They cross-train themselves and others.
A company with specified individualists is in constant danger of losing expertise or capability. Employees create value when they increase redundancy of process and talent.
11. They create a circle of influence.
A growing company needs leaders. Employees create value when they can inspire others to make things happen both internally and externally.
12. They work ahead of the curve.
The future is always moving closer, and signs of what’s to come are always present. Employees create value when they are future curious and consider what’s to come in their actions and thinking.
13. They proactively and effectively communicate.
Being ambiguous or leaving people hanging contributes to a frustrating work environment. Employees create value when they instigate consistent and complete communication that keeps everyone informed.
14. They know when to lead and how to follow.
A leader can’t lead all the time if others are going to grow. Employees create value when they encourage others to step up and support them as the enthusiastic second in command.
15. They fight for what’s right and commit to the achievable.
People who push without basis can eat time and cause consternation. Employees create value when they stand up for their beliefs and take a pragmatic view before going all in.
16. They make the office a great place to work.
People who are negative bring down morale and demotivate. Employees create value when they help create a positive environment that others can’t wait to join.
17. They integrate time for learning and working on the company.
There is more to growth than just the daily grind. Employees create value when they grow themselves in ways that can help advance the company toward lofty objectives.
18. They motivate their co-workers and superiors.
People need encouragement, no matter their position. Employees create value when they make everyone feel good about what they do and why they do it.
19. They instigate admiration for the company.
One bad representative of the company reflects on the whole crew. Employees create value when they provide a positive image that reflects well on everyone else.
20. They make others look amazing.
A showoff can alienate the whole team, creating frustration and rancor. Employees create value when they share credit with others on the team, elevating everyone’s happiness and confidence.
21. They create pleasant surprises everyday.
Any work environment can become dull and unimaginative. Employees create value when they stimulate energy and creativity in the workplace.
22. They are problem solvers, not whiners.
Constant complaining runs rampant in the business world. Employees create value when they brush aside the complaints and help people focus on the resolution.
23. They clean up messes.
Even the most productive people can sometimes move so fast the details are left undone. Employees create value when they make sure the company is safe, compliant, and protected from carelessness.
24. They maintain a happy home, at home.
Home life can easily intrude on the workplace, making others uncomfortable and creating distraction. Employees create value when they establish boundaries and set an example of work-life balance so others can learn from their best practices.
25. They turn troublemakers into rainmakers.
There will always be problem people in business. Employees create value when they can turn cynics into advocates and fear mongers into champions.
26. They resolve unhealthy conflict.
The workplace is stressful, and often people channel that stress onto others. Employees create value when they can diffuse tense situations and help people return to civility.
27. They engage in healthy conflict.
A company without strong debate is bound to head over a cliff or be passed by eventually. Employees create value when they bring important issues to the table, even when against the popular view.
28. They make most things seem easy, especially when they are not.
Work today is more involved then ever before. Employees create value when they manage tasks seamlessly, inspiring others to raise their performance as well.
29. They don’t just do, they teach.
Companies need people who can help others grow. Employees create value when they improve the work force and delegate, giving others the opportunity to gain proficiency and confidence.
30. They manage obstacles as if they were opportunities.
Bumps in the road are bound to happen. Employees create value when they take on those issues with positivity and excitement.
31. They expand everyone’s network of influence.
A company doesn’t grow by accident, and the CEO can’t be the only one to get the good word out. Employees create value when they promote the company as evangelists, generating opportunities at every turn.
32. They influence often, and manipulate when necessary.
Sitting in a corner and grinding out tasks is the minimum work for pay. Employees create value when they encourage people to reach their potential and help them overcome their internal demons.
33. They leave a trail of manageable process behind.
Often companies move so fast they are constantly reinventing the wheel. Employees create value when they document what works and encourage replication.
34. They attract other valuable employees.
Valuable employees are hard to find, but they tend to know each other. Employees create value when they act as a beacon for others looking to be exemplary.
35. They embody the company’s core values.
A company misaligned is a company adrift and unlikely to succeed long term. Employees create value when they demonstrate to others the behavior and attitudes that will lead everyone to success.
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