5 Traits of Top Performers and How You Can Use Them Too

The 5 Traits of Top Performers

The globalization of today’s marketplace has shifted what employers expect of employees and what makes an employee a top performer. It’s difficult to keep up with the increasing demands and still stand out. Evaluating your career and looking for ways to remain competitive, in a time where professionals are competing with job seekers worldwide, can be challenging. Here are some simple ways you can improve your skills and become a more valuable asset to any organization.

Trait #1 – Teamwork and Collaboration

Nearly 75% of employers’ nationwide rate teamwork and collaboration as very important (University of Oregon Workplace Study). In fact in that very same study, 73% of the business leaders indicated that the soft skills (interpersonal skills) were more important than job related skills.  

It’s no coincidence that top performers have the ability to work well with teams and include ideas from others to get things done. To improve your skills in these areas try: 

  • Ask your manager if there is any training offered by the company.
  • Find related books or articles to help expand your skill set, such as John Maxwell’s 17 Indisputable Laws of Teamwork.
  • Use each on-the-job engagement with others as an opportunity to grow your skills in this area and take some time to get to know the people that you work with to better to improve working relations.  

Trait #2 – High Level of Emotional Intelligence

Emotional Intelligence (EQ) is “the ability to manage one’s own emotions and perceive another person's feeling.” Although a great value has been placed on a high intellectual intelligence (IQ), a higher level of a person's emotional intelligence is being more widely supported. In fact, Daniel Goleman, the expert that popularized Emotional Intelligence has found that EQ is just as important to career success as IQ. According to the University of Consulting Alliance, Goleman found 67% of all abilities that contribute to professional success are related to EI.

The Center for Creative Leadership did a study that showed managers sited 3 core reasons for employee job failure:

  • Difficulty in handling change
  • Inability to work well in a team environment
  • Poor interpersonal relations

EI can be summarized into five core elements; including:

  • Self-awareness: our ability to perceive our emotions and understand our tendencies to act in certain ways in given situations
  • Self regulation: our ability to understand the emotions of other people (what others are thinking and feeling
  • Motivation: our ability to use awareness of our emotions to stay flexible and direct our behavior positively and constructively
  • Empathy: our ability to use our awareness of our own emotions and emotions of others, putting yourself in someone else's shoes, to manage interactions successfully.
  • Social skills: ability to adapt to change, diplomatically resolve disagreements including increased negotiative skills and learning to read people's verbal and non-vebal cues.

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Trait#3 – Leadership Skills

There are so many different aspects to leadership. Leaders are effective communicators, foster teamwork, listen to others, are proactive, come up with innovative ideas, collaborate well with others and bring different people together to achieve results, and much more.

I’m not asking for you to focus on everything to grow your leadership skills right now. Just ONE! Pick one leadership trait that you’re already pretty good at and start building upon that trait until you become known for that area of expertise. 

For example, if you create a document or template that anyone could use to solve a problem (that you and others have)…improve upon that tool then start connecting with others, find those with the same problem and share your results and solution with them. Pretty soon, you’ll become the “go-to person” for that specific area of expertise!

Continute to build upon that leadership trait, and then start adding in other leadership skills and growing your expertise. 

Trait #4 - Workplace Flexibility

This term “workplace flexibility” means different things to different people. It could be a flexible work schedule, ability to work from home, working from multiple locations, varied time off schedules or flexible work hours. 

There is also that perspective that to be a top performer, you must work a ton of hours and always be around to get things done. In fact, 65% of employees say that managers expect to reach them outside of the job (2015 Workplace Trends Study). 

Just because you work around the clock for the company, doesn’t make you a top performer. Employers will take advantage of employees whenever they can. Learn to set boundaries so that you can balance your personal and work priorities. Do a better job of communicating, being proactive or creative about alternatives to get things done and sharing specific availability outside of work to show commitment. 

Top performers can still have a life outside of work. They just learn to maximize the time during working hours to produce results.  

Trait #5 - Communicating with Different Cultures and Generations

The better you can learn to connect and communicate within a diverse workplace, the more effective you’ll be as an employee. When I say diversity, I do not mean the watered down version of “diversity of thought or ideas” (although important) I really mean people of different cultures, gender preference, age, multi-generations, disabilities and religion.

People that are able to effectively connect with and work well with people from different backgrounds and experiences, will thrive in a global marketplace where co-workers and customers are from around the world. 

For example, if you work with people from China, you’ll find that a typical work conversation starts out with making a personal connection. In China, people focus on getting to know you, your family and who you are before they get down to business.

No matter who you are, what position you hold, or where you come from; you need to improve your skill to work with others. Learning about the background, culture and history of the people you work with can educate you on why people approach or think about issues differently.

Toni Navy, Business Strategy Expert

About The Author

Toni Navy is a Business Strategy Expert and #1 Best Selling Author. She’s known for delivering high-impact training programs and consulting services to entrepreneurs, leaders and professionals to help you hire, coach and lead a profitable and high performing business.

Mrs. Navy was in corporate for over 20 years and has held management, Director and VP level positions in HR and Operations. She has also provided training and coaching to over 5,000 entrepreneurs and over 10,000 leaders and professionals throughout her career, she is a leading expert on helping entrepreneurs and small businesses with strategies to achieve success.

Visit Toni Navy International at www.Toni Navy.com.