6 traits of the best employees

Best employeesWhich employees should you be fighting to keep? It doesn’t always come down to their knowledge, skills or personality. Instead, the most exceptional employees possess these attributes:

They are always looking for ways to improve. Even when you have given them a stellar evaluation, they’ll ask what they can do to take their performance up a notch. They are continuously looking for ways to be more efficient, productive and successful on a personal level; but they also look for ways to improve operations, the quality of your products and the customer experience at the team or organizational level.

They deal with conflict. They’re rarely responsible for it, but when they do find themselves in a turf war or some other battle with co-workers, they confront the issue calmly and logically, and take the lead in resolving the issue.

They don’t live and die by their job descriptions. Of course, you should have one for each employee, but your best employees will chip in and do whatever needs to be done. Better yet, they don’t need you to make a big deal every time they do go above and beyond.

They admit when they messed up. The best employees are confident, but not to the point of arrogance, which prevents many people from admitting their failures. Top employees own their mistakes—and learn from them.

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They don’t let distractions throw them off. Difficult co-workers, onslaughts of email and little issues that pop up throughout the day don’t steal their focus from their most important work.

They speak up—when they should. Your best employees don’t speak just to hear their own voices, but when a difficult question needs to be asked, a problem needs to be pointed out, or a decision needs to be challenged, they are the first to speak up.

— Adapted from “10 Ways to Spot a Truly Exceptional Employee,” Travis Bradberry, Forbes, www.forbes.com.