As a person who has employed hundreds of people in my career, I am always amazed at how some people stand out from the crowd, while other's don't.

In today's work environment where work, life balance seems to take precedence, and the millennials and gen-y are looking for more than their predecessors who were mainly happy to be gainfully employed and on a career path that funded their lifestyle - it appears that fewer employees are seeking to be outstanding. They are looking for more than just to be an outstanding employee, but rather a career that is fulfilling, balanced and with the right perks to help them get the outcomes financially they are looking for in their lifetime.

Now, this is not a bad thing. As you get older, you realise that you only live once. This new way of thinking and the younger generation putting life first and career second, can only benefit generations to come.

Where the real problem lies in the blurred line between how to advance your career or how best to maintain your status quo in the workplace.
What makes an outstanding employee?

For those who are more ambitious and believe in what you do, where you want to go and how you are going to get there, being an outstanding employee for the brand that you work for may lead to all your dreams coming true - at least in the workplace.

Ways to be an exceptional employee:

  1. Ignore your job description: Too often people think that something is out of their job description, so they don't do it, afterall, it's "not your job". Big mistake. It's what's not in your job description that makes you stand out from the crowd. Working over and above what is required will ensure that your manager and company leaders notice you.
  2. Be solutions based: Never go to your manager with a problem, only with a solution. You have heard it all before, but unfortunately people in the workplace still don't seem to have learnt this one. 
  3. Be details orientated: If you are details orientated, you won't ever be accused of not using common sense. You would have crossed your "t's" and dotted your "i's" every single time.
  4. Have a team spirit: You may be good, but with a team all working towards the same goal, you will be better. Yesterday, I completed a performance appraisal with a graphic design employee who is quite and likes working by themself and one of the points of concern was her inability to work as part of a team and by improving this, she will develop leaps and bounds.
  5. Know when to reel it in: We all love a happy, go lucky employee who lifts the moods of the team through good humour or just an ability to have fun. When times are tough, major challenges often pop up, or situations become stressful, so being able to reel in your individuality and work as part of team is paramount.
  6. Complain in private: Never complain about anything to do with the workplace or people in your team in an open environment. 
  7. Listen: The best performers are those who listen and ask questions.
  8. Take responsibility and don't be afraid to show initiative: If you are working on a project, take responsibility for its outcomes and show initiative when something pops up that can be improved upon or changed to achieve a better result.
  9. Be self disciplined and have a strong work ethic: It's easy to check your facebook account during work hours, but by showing discipline and only doing work during the time you are in the office, you will find that your performance and ability to complete tasks without distraction will make you stand out. Showing a strong work ethic and delivering everything you promise to deliver on-time and within budget also goes well recognised.
  10. Show good communications skills: If you are not good at communicating then work at it, do a course or spend time speaking with people who are. Good communicators make exceptional leaders.

On top of these 10 points, other areas that is inate in an outstanding employee is their loyalty, responsiveness, ability to praise others, motivation, discipline and ability to exceed expectations time and time again.

Climbing to the top of the organisation chart takes hard work and those of whom are not afraid to roll up their sleeves often fast track their way into the C-Suite.

Now go for it!

Mellissah Smith is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with more than 20 years' experience in marketing.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert, author, writer, public speaker and technology innovator. Having worked with more than 300 companies across technology, medical device, professional services, manufacturing, logistics, finance and health industries, Mellissah has a well-established reputation as an experienced marketing professional with more than 20 years experience. As the founder and managing director of Marketing Eye, she has taken the company from startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise with offices in Australia and the US. Mellissah is also the Editor in Chief of Marketing Eye Magazine, a quarterly magazine that cover marketing, entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellbeing. #mellissah #marketingeye

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