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At Work

What Makes a Top Employee?

Be the best and get noticed.

In any economy, especially a tough one, thousands of companies are still looking to hire top employees. How does one become that top employee organizations and leaders are looking to hire?

Although experience, knowledge and background are great benefits, there are three things a person can do to be a top performer on any team:

1. Do what you love.
2. Maintain a positive attitude.
3. Make your boss look good.

This is more than a generic statement or a motivational blurb; rather, these are the most common qualities cited when leaders describe their top performers.

Do What You Love
Passion is the most powerful motivator of a person or team. More people will follow you, buy from you, or promote you because you are passionate than because you are smart or have experience. Passion can only be created when someone is doing something they believe in or love to do. This does not mean a person must be passionate about the product or service they provide; rather they must be passionate about their actual job responsibilities and serving their clients or team members.

A misconception is that passion is a subjective thing to measure. How can the one thing that every top performer has be subjective? It can't. Either a person has it or not. Everybody has passion - it is an emotion. The question is not whether someone has passion, it is whether they are doing what they are passionate about. If the answer is no, then a change is needed because without passion, you will never reach your true ability or desires.

Action item: Write down what you love to do from hobbies to activities. Does it relate to what you do in any way? If not, talk to your boss about your passions and ways you can incorporate them into your current role. They will appreciate the top performer you become when you are doing something you are passionate about.

Maintain a Positive Attitude
Having a good attitude is as easy as always remembering to smile and take responsibility for everything both good and bad. It is never saying, "It wasn't my fault," or, "It's not my job," or blaming the company or competition for one's failures. Rather, a person with the right attitude knows that to be successful, they must first be grateful. To be the best, focus on how to have more fun and be better at serving your clients, peers, and subordinates. Ignore the gunslingers that shoot holes in every new idea and new opportunity by saying it won't work or has never worked in the past. Most people will tell another person something can't be done because, in reality, they fear they themselves can't do it. Having the right attitude is knowing you will determine your reality not by what has been done, but rather by what you will do.

Action item: Take the time each day to approach everyone around you and smile, encourage them, and expect the same in return.

Make Your Boss Look Good
Working to please and impress will get a person promoted faster than tenure and experience. A top performer focuses on doing what is right, exceeding the boss' expectations, promoting the leadership's culture, and delivering results. Always be willing to help others to succeed, knowing the better you are at helping others, the more valuable you become. When a person focuses on making the boss look good, they should never worry about being perceived as an opportunist. The key is to focus on having the right attitude, being passionate about your job, and serving your leader and the team.

Action item: Look at your job expectations and add to them. If your boss says to be in the office by 9 a.m., try to be there by 8:30 a.m. If your boss says to contact 50 prospects in a week, your goal should be 75. Most importantly, do these tasks with integrity. Not only will your boss look good, but you will see results.

Every professional has the opportunity to get promoted and be a top employee, but only a few will actually do what it takes to get there.

Nathan Jamail, best-selling author of "The Playbook Series," is also a motivational speaker, entrepreneur, and corporate coach. As a former executive for Fortune 500 companies and owner of several small businesses, he travels the country helping individuals and organizations achieve maximum success. A few of his clients include Fidelity, Nationwide Insurance, The Hartford Group, Cisco, Stryker Communications, and Army National Guard. For more information:, 972-377-0030.

At Work Archives
  Last Post: February 10, 2013 | View Comments(1)

Very good.

bill hanssen FMC Hawthorne Kidney CenterFebruary 10, 2013
Hawthorne, FL


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