Spotting a Superstar EmployeeSubmitted by Bernhardt Wealth Management on November 12th, 2018
Business owners know how rare it is to find that employee who has “the right stuff.” And when you are lucky enough to find one, you want to hang onto that employee as long as you can.
Not long ago, a roundtable of CEOs got together to discuss the attributes of an irreplaceable employee: those people who always seem to be in the right place at the right time in your business, doing the right things the right way. You might be surprised to learn that not a single one of the CEOs listed technical knowhow, educational or work credentials, or several of the other attributes that we are so accustomed to seeing listed on résumés, job descriptions, and employment applications. These might all be considered “hard skills,” and spotting those who have or don’t have them is easy. Instead, the CEOs in the roundtable focused entirely on what might be termed “soft skills”: personal traits and emotional intelligences that make the difference between an employee who simply fills a slot and one who really makes a positive difference for the company.
Absence of drama. Unanimously, the CEOs mentioned that their highest-performing employees—the ones they can’t do without—are those who don’t complain, who don’t seek attention, and who don’t feel the need to inform everyone around them of how difficult a task is or what they had to do to achieve a particular result. Instead, these employees simply focus on the challenge at hand and set about the business of meeting it. The CEOs also noted that this trait is difficult to screen for in a job interview, because prima dona types often see themselves as anything but. It isn’t uncommon for high-drama employees to perceive themselves as down-to-earth people who just happen to care more intensely than others. The difference, the CEOs say, is in the results and the lack of interpersonal fireworks required to obtain them.
Focus and execution. Superstar employees go beyond generating ideas to carrying them out. Members of the roundtable pointed out that there is no shortage of ideas in today’s environment; the shortage is for those who can execute them. Irreplaceable employees follow through and don’t require reminders and oversight to do so.
Confidence and internal motivation. Standout employees have the confidence to receive constructive criticism without assuming a defensive or, worse, a passive posture (and see item 1, above). Once they understand the objective, they are self-motivated to reach it, including navigating past any obstacles they may encounter en route. The CEOs further noted that these last traits become apparent only in environment where employees are not punished for taking risks. If forced to operate in a setting where individual initiative is seen as suspect or subject to heavy control, employees with this “superpower” will probably stay on the job just long enough to find another workplace that rewards their vision and persistence.