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Career Corner
Makings of a Stellar Employee
Friday, February 24, 2012

Why be a good employee when you could be great employee? And why stop there when you can be a stellar one? Employees who excel in their positions find that they make their way up to even higher ones faster than if they had been "good enough" rather than "better than the rest."

It doesn't take much to be a great employee if you can do what's expected of you. Everyone should be proactive, reliable and take the initiative. What sets them apart from the others is that they have those extra "it" factors.

Be better than the rest, here are some ways you can:

They're a little...out there.
Think about people who leave an impression in your mind, people you don't forget. They probably had something about them that was unique. Whether it was their humor or a certain way of doing something, we all have our things. We live in a day and age where quirky is good, being an individual is encouraged and what everyone should strive for. Their oddness is endearing to some extent and shake things up a bit. Companies like people like that because they add some color to the company culture. Never hold yourself back from having a lively personality. If people don't know who you are then they can't remember you.

They don't restrict themselves to job descriptions.
Smaller companies especially need people who are self-sufficient. When there are less people, they need everyone to pull their own weight since there aren't any spare bodies to hold their hands the entire way. People who can think of their feet and roll with the punches are valuable on any team as they stimulate production within the operations.

Instead of needing someone to tell you what to do, be able to prioritize despite what's written in the job description. Help even when help isn't asked for, granted your interference is beneficial in the end. Being a go-getter and getting things done will leave a bigger impression than playing an expendable role.

They know the right balance between work and play.
While companies can appreciate people who can incorporate a fun attitude at work, they can appeciate more those who know when it to pull it in. Your awesome personality is the bonus that the companies gets for hiring such a good worker. Don't ruin a good thing but trying too hard. Remember, they're paying you to get a job done, not just to grace them with your presence. Be able to read people and situations. Awareness of your surroundings will keep you from being the person that doesn't get their work done.

They give kudos to their colleagues.
It always feels good to get recognition for your work whether it come from your boss or a peer. Public praise is a good mood booster and motivator. Stellar employees have no problem spreading the love and genuine niceness gains respect.

They keep the negative comments to themeselves
If there's a real problem, don't bottle it up. Handle it maturely and prepared with some solutions to it. When you need to bring these things up though, don't make it a huge deal by creating a scene or getting people involved that are irrelevant to the issue. Bringing up a sensitive issue in private speaks volumes for your character and judgment as they can sometimes set others off in a group setting.

They're not afraid to be the squeaky wheel.
You've heard of the saying "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" and the same principle applies here. Not everyone is feels comfortable speaking up either in private or not. This is what makes a stellar employee shine. They can empathize with the quiet ones and serve as the voice for them. Knowing that others might have questions that they're afraid to ask themselves and take it upon themselves to do it for them is an admirable deed.

They have something to prove.
The desire to prove to others your potential is good self-motivation as it gives you something to work for, for yourself. Whatever doubts that others may have cast upon you can spark the drive within that gets you far in your career. Your skills, education, experience, and smarts are all important but they don't do much without fuel to get them to push you forward. Stellar employees have a deeper desire within keeping them going.

They have an eye for improvement.
Stellar employees satisfied with good enough and are always looking for something else to fix or tinker with. They're always trying to make a good thing better because they want to as opposed to an employee who does a job adequately because they were expected to. Stellar employees to the unexpected and are noticed for it. Stellar employees are essentially over achievers and not because they're trying to overshadow anyone else, they just want to keep putting their potential to the test.
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