Becoming a “High Potential” Employee

Most of us desire to become an employee seen as having “high potential” for the future – and, the increased responsibilities and pay that come with it.  So, I thought it might be helpful to list some of the factors that can help drive your potential for advancement and that differentiate top performers.  In general, top performers:

  1. Consistently exceed expectations for results – needless to say, a top performer must be an individual that gets things done.  It is not enough to barely attain job expectations, you must go above and beyond to achieve what most others would not or could not have attained.
  2. Consistently demonstrate and model key behaviors – results alone do not define top performers – how they achieve results is also very important.  It is virtually impossible to be a top performer without demonstrating engagement, competitiveness, collaboration, high-performing approach, and trustworthiness.  Top performers not only exhibit these hallmarks, but they serve as the model to others.  In other words, these individuals are the ones you point to when you are describing what the hallmarks mean.
  3. Consistently exhibit appropriate professional behavior – in additional to exhibiting the proper behavioral attributes, top performers also behave professionally.  This means that you treat others with respect, display the appropriate demeanor, respect the time of others, exhibit appropriate language, fulfill obligations, etc.  In short, professional behavior means to act the way your mother hoped you would.
  4. Volunteer for challenging assignments – a top performer is often the first to volunteer for a difficult assignment.  He/She does not shy away from challenges and will do whatever it takes to meet a customer need, solve a compliance issue, and support the team.
  5. Understand and exhibit the concept of “adding value” – a top performer would never “confuse effort with results.”  A top performer understands that our driving attitude must be one that adds value.  In other words, this individual makes our company better, improves patient experience, reduces costs, improves productivity, reduces risks, enhances systems, improves morale, etc.
  6. Exhibit flexibility (or the ability to readily shift to other roles) – in most cases, individuals deemed as top performers have the ability to serve in more than one capacity.  I have often heard someone say of another, “That individual would be successful in any role they were assigned.”  Developing multiple skills, being flexible, learning transferrable skills, etc. are important attributes of top employees.
  7. Demonstrate adaptability or willingness to try something new – it is very typical that top performers readily shift outside their comfort zone.  Being willing to shift to the unknown makes an employee more valuable to the organization.
  8. Are consistently connected with successful activities – one way to identify a top performer is to look for successful operations.  Top performers are usually known as “winners” – that is, they are connected to success because they help drive the success of the team.
  9. Are consistently viewed as the “go to” individual in the group – top performers are usually individuals that understand more, know more, can explain better, are more willing to help, and work well with others.
  10. Develop good relationships with teammates, colleagues, and others – and finally, top performers are individuals you want to work with.  These individuals are wanted by others and they promote collaboration simply because they work well with others.

In short, top performers are those individuals you would choose, if you were starting your own business.  These are the individuals that provoke a response of “amazing!” when you ask, “What kind of company would ours be if every one of our employees was just like him/her?”  These are the employees you would want your son/daughter to model.

So, the bottom line is this… If you want to be considered a top performer or high potential employee, how many of these ten attributes do you routinely exhibit?  Which of these represents the greatest opportunity for improvement for you?  How can you differentiate yourself like the top performers you work with every day?

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