The following post is written by Mukta Chakravorty. She is the third place winner of the Ms. Hackers content writing challenge.
What makes a star employee?
Right from childhood, it is drilled into our brains that the better marks we score, the better our chances of getting into a good college and thereby landing a ‘good’ job in a company of repute. Traditionally even companies have always looked at pedigrees before hiring candidates.
However, the pertinent question to raise here is – do the grades and marks prepare a person for the challenges that he/she has to face in their professional lives? A good grade from a premier institute may help one get their feet in the first rung of the professional ladder. But after that, it is one’s ability and performance that will take him/her ahead in the world.
The following are some of the top traits of a star employee:
1. Passionate: A very important characteristic of a star employee is his/her passion for the job. This is reflected in the way they go about doing the tasks assigned to them. If they don’t have the passion, their job will soon seem mechanical and they will lose their zeal to work hard. Passion, on the other hand drives an individual to perform even better with each successive year.
2. Quick learner: No one expects a person to know every single thing that a job demands. However, how quickly one does that determines one’s capability and agility. A star employee will always be willing to learn new things on the job, or enhance skills that will help him/her perform her job better. As Richard Branson, founder of the Virgin Group of Airlines once said: “If someone offers you an amazing opportunity and you are not sure you can do it, say yes. Then learn how to do it later.”
3. Ready to take up challenges/risks: No enterprise can be successful without taking some amount of risks. Consequently, a stellar employee is someone who is not afraid to push the boundaries while achieving his/her goal at work. So what if the idea seems undoable at the time of inception? Not taking up new challenges brings in a certain level of predictability to the work.
4. Ownership/Initiative: A stellar employee is someone, who, when given a task, sees it to completion. He/she doesn’t pass on the buck if something doesn’t go the way it had been planned. This sense of responsibility propels a person to give a task their one hundred percent.
5. Solution mindset: While at work, there will be times when problems arise and one needs to douse them with some effective fire-fighting. Having a solution mindset is the hallmark of an outstanding employee; how they react under these circumstances proves their mettle. Do they crack under pressure? Do they expect someone else to provide the answers all the time? Or do they take it upon themselves to come up with a solution? A star employee does the latter.
6. Out-of-the-box thinking: It may sound like a cliché, but this is probably one of the most important characteristics of a star employee. Innovation and creativity goes a long way in maximising an employee’s potential. Also, organisations can progress only when they have employees who are brimming with new ideas and initiatives. The out-of-the-box thinking may even just be in the form of coming up with an idea on how to enhance an existing process.
7. Team player: Finally, an outstanding employee is a team player through and through. It shows their adaptability to work together for the success of the entire organisation. As colleagues, they support and applaud and as leaders, they motivate and inspire others.
When an employee possesses these traits, he/she becomes an invaluable contributor to the success of any organisation.