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22 Signs of Exceptional Employee (Which Never Appear on Performance Evaluations)

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22 Signs of Exceptional Employee

Many are good. Some are best. Only few are exceptional. Here's how we can tell the difference.  We can all spot a best employee: he or she will be dependable, proactive, hardworking, a great leader, and a great follower. He/She brings a wide variety of easily defined, but hard to find skills on table.

Exceptional employees have skills and qualities that aren't evaluated on performance appraisals but make a huge impact on that individual's performance, the performance of the people around her, and especially on the company's results.

It largely depends upon one common factor called "personality".

“We should take care not to make the intellect our God; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but not personality.” –Albert Einstein

Personality traits form at an early age and are fixed by early adulthood. Many important things about you change over the course of your lifetime, but your personality isn’t one of them.

Personality is distinct from intellect. The two don’t occur together in any meaningful way. Personality is also distinct from emotional intelligence, and this is where the study, and most leaders for that matter, have misinterpreted the term.

Here are 22 signs of an employees who are truly exceptional:

  1. They think well beyond job descriptions.

Irrespective of the team size, whether it is small or big, the more important for the employees is to think on their own, quickly adapt to quickly shifting priorities, and to do whatever it takes, regardless of their role or position, to get things done.

If the project is in jeopardy, exceptional employees know without being told there's a problem, and they jump in on their own, even if it's not their job.

Job Description

  1. They're quirky...

The best employees are often a little different: a little eccentric, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. They seem slightly odd, but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair and flavor.

People who aren't afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.

Unusual Employee

  1. They know when to show their individuality.

An unusual personality is a lot of fun right up until the moment it isn't. Whenever there is a major challenge or fire or crisis  they stop expressing their individuality and become a complete team player.

They know when to play their cards Well.  They know when to be serious; when to be irreverent and when to conform; and when to challenge and when to back off.

It's a right balance to have, and a very few can walk with that fine line with ease.


  1. They appreciate other people in public!

Appreciation from the superior feels good. Appreciation from a peer feels awesome, especially when you look up to that person.

Exceptional employees recognize the contributions of others, especially in teams where the impact of the words makes a huge difference.

  1. They will disagree in private.

We all want employees to bring issues forward, but some problems are better handled in private. Great employees often get more latitude to bring up controversial subjects in a group setting because their performance allows greater freedom.

Exceptional employees come to you before or after a meeting to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could set off a firestorm.

  1. They ask questions when others are not.

Many employees hesitate to speak up their mind in meetings. Some people even hesitate to speak up in private.

Exceptional employees are sensitive to issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.


  1. They're constantly exploring.

Some people are rarely satisfied with what they and are constantly tinkering with something tirelessly, always reworking a timeline, adjusting a process, tweaking a workflow.

Good employees follow processes. Great employees tweak processes. Exceptional employees find ways to reinvent processes, not just because they are expected to...but because they just can't help themselves.


  1. They’re willing to delay gratification. One thing an exceptional employee never says is, “That’s not in my job description.” Exceptional employees work outside the boundaries of job descriptions. They’re neither intimidated nor entitled; instead of expecting recognition or compensation to come first, they forge ahead in their work, confident that they’ll be rewarded later but unconcerned if they’re not.

Delayed Gratification

  1. They can tolerate conflict.While exceptional employees don’t seek conflict, they don’t run away from it either. They’re able to maintain their composure while presenting their positions calmly and logically. They’re able to withstand personal attacks in pursuit of the greater goal and never use that tactic themselves.


  1. They focus.Student pilots are often told, “When things start going wrong, don’t forget to fly the plane.” Plane crashes have resulted from pilots concentrating so hard on identifying the problem that they flew the plane into the ground. Eastern Airlines Flight 401 is just one example: The flight crew was so concerned about the landing gear being down that they didn’t realize they were losing altitude until it was too late, despite alarms going off in the cockpit. Exceptional employees understand the principle of “Just fly the plane.” They don’t get distracted by irritating customers, interoffice problems, or shifting to a new office. They can differentiate between real issues and unwanted noise; So, they stay focused on what is important.

Bruce Lee Quote

  1. They’re confident & courageous.Exceptional employees are willing to speak up when others are not, whether it’s to ask a difficult (or “embarrassingly” simple) question or to challenge an executive decision. However, that’s balanced with common sense, timing and confident. They think before they speak and wisely choose the best time and place to do so.


  1. They’re in control of their egos.Exceptional employees have egos. While that’s part of what drives them, they never give their egos more weight than what is deserved. They’re willing to admit when they’re wrong and willing to do things someone else’s way, whether it’s because the other way is better or it’s important to maintain team harmony.


    1. They’re never satisfied.Exceptional employees have unparalleled convictions that things can always be better—and they’re right. No one is ever done growing, and there is no such thing as “good enough” when it comes to personal improvement. No matter how well things are going, exceptional employees are driven to improve, without forgetting to give themselves a healthy pat on the back. Exceptional employees have unparalleled convictions that things can always be better—and they’re right.

  1. They recognize when things are broken and fix them. Whether it’s a sticky desk drawer or an inefficient, useless process affecting the cash flow of the entire team, exceptional employees don’t walk past problems. “Oh, it’s been that way forever,” simply isn’t in their vocabulary. They see problems as issues to be fixed immediately; it’s that simple.  
  1. They’re in control of their egos.Exceptional employees have egos. While that’s part of what drives them, they never give their egos more weight than what is deserved. They’re willing to admit when they’re wrong and willing to do things someone else’s way, whether it’s because the other way is better or it’s important to maintain team harmony.

  1. They are trouble shooters.Whether it’s a sticky desk drawer or an inefficient, wasteful process affecting the cash flow of the entire department, exceptional employees don’t walk past the trouble. “Oh, it’s been that way forever,” simply isn’t in their vocabulary. They see shoot any troubles without wasting time.
  1. They’re take responsibility.If you’re a manager trying to decipher a bungled report, “It’s not my fault” is the most irritating phrase in the English language. Exceptional employees are accountable. They take responsibility for their work, their decisions, and all of their results—good or bad. They bring their mistakes to management’s attention rather than hoping no one will find out. They understand that managers aren’t out to assign blame; they’re out to get things done.
  1. They’re likable.Exceptional employees are well liked by co-workers. They have integrity and leadership skills (even if they’re not in an official leadership position) that people respond to. Externally, it means they can be trusted to represent the brand well. Managers trust them  to meet with clients and prospects without worrying about what they’ll say or do.

    1. They neutralize toxic people.

Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. Exceptional employees control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

    1. They Think out of Box:

Whenever there is a problem, they were able to think different and able to provide quick solutions


    1. Can work under pressure and can work on problems

They are not afraid work on problems.  In reality, they see problems as opportunities for quick growth.  They know that, solving the problems which cannot be solved others will give them the platform to prove themselves and make them a unique valuable employee.

  1. They are Emotionally Intelligent They are able to identify their feeling as well as other feelings.  They apply their emotions as per the situation needed.  They can also handle the other people emotions efficiently irrespective of the other person’s role and responsibility.  They are very good in interpersonal skills.

So, how many of these qualities do you have it with you?

    1. Sudha November 1, 2016
      • Bala November 6, 2016
        • Bala November 14, 2016

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