How do you rate yourself as a performer? How do you think you're seen by your colleagues and your boss? There’s a lot of focus placed on gaining employment, but once a job is secured attention must be paid to the difficult process of driving career progression. If you want a promotion, more responsibility, and better compensation for your time it’s time to think about how to stand out.
7 Essential Traits of a High Performing Worker
Show your employer you’re a high performer. It will require pushing your boundaries, and working hard on self improvement. You can get ahead in your career by cultivating traits to set yourself apart from the pack. Your boss is more likely to invest time and money in your development when they have been assured of your ability, consistency and motivation.
The best employees to manage are the ones who seem to know what you want them to do, without you ever having to ask. They find work for themselves, and have an awareness of what’s going on around them, ready to lend a hand to big or small tasks. By demonstrating an understanding of what needs to be done, how quickly it needs to be completed, and what is the highest priority, your management learn that you can be trusted to do your job superbly whether they are supervising or not.
The next step from motivating yourself is motivating those around you. You become exponentially more valuable to your workplace when it is evident you guide and assist those working around you. Leadership and management involves managing the effectiveness of a whole team, as well as the progress of individuals. Great leaders display emotional intelligence, and develop and maintain positive workplace cultures around them.
Practice thinking like a manager by anticipating their concerns or ideas. Business and Executive Coach Pamela Murray-Jones has some fantastic pointers to get you started here. If leadership and business management spark your attention, consider adding weight to your CV with a Graduate Certificate in Leadership Diversity (BSB80315) or a Diploma of Leadership and Management (BSB51915). These courses are a fantastic foot-in-the-door, or a means by which to officially document your prior learning - did you know you can undertake a Graduate Diploma with no tertiary qualifications, so long as you have worked 5 years in a relevant position?
#3: Team player
If you have expert knowledge that you choose not to share with your co-workers, you’re not a team player. Employers love high performers who enrich the workplace they are a part of. So share your knowledge! If you see someone struggling with a task, provide them with the solution. Being a team player is another way of cementing your status as an asset to the company. Ask for and give help when it’s needed. Cultivate a culture of strong support.
#4: Lateral thinking
You may have been asked to ‘think outside the box’ before. What that means is to think laterally. Physician and author Edward de Bono came up with the concept, which is now practiced worldwide. Employees who can come up with fresh and creative ideas, or solve a problem in a new way are known as lateral thinkers and they are highly sought after. The best news is lateral thinking can be researched, practiced and improved. To begin: ask questions and be curious!
#5: Take on different projects
Higher performers are versatile. If you have one task that you’re especially good at, make sure you’re still chasing down different types of work. Becoming overly specialised in one area can leave you feeling boxed in. This is easy to avoid! Every now and then, put your hand up to take on a task that no one else wants to. If you have a colleague who is struggling with their workload, offer to take on one of their files. You’ll learn something new, and you’ll be helping them out.
#6: Dedicated to learning
Perhaps the most important trait an employee can offer their workplace is the desire to learn and improve. There is nothing more exciting for a business than to work with people who are passionate about the work and interested in progressing further. It is easier to promote an existing employee than to hire a new face. However, there will be times you are pitted against external applicants, so it is important not to become complacent. If they have more documented, relevant qualifications than yourself, it may be difficult for the interviewing panel to justify awarding you the position, even if your on-the-job training has been very thorough.
One of the hardest traits to cultivate is consistency, because it requires long-term dedication and fastidiousness. It’d be easy set yourself a goal to do a week of high quality work, but what about three months? Consistency means always making the deadline, reading the brief, checking your facts, responding to your emails, answering calls, being punctual to meetings and the list goes on. Make a decision not to make compromises in the consistency of your performance and over time you will be rewarded.
Hone your skills and see your career take off
What is most inspiring about these 7 traits is that they can all be learned, cultivated and improved. These traits may be transferred to any line of work, and are valued in every workplace. If you’re looking towards your future, and wondering what’s next in your career, start investing some time in yourself. Kickstart the progression of your own career. Read, study, teach and learn from your peers and watch as over time your efforts are rewarded.