career tips

20 traits of a super-star employee

What traits make for a great employee? Depending on who you ask, there are thousands of possible answers to this question. We narrowed down the list, collecting the qualities that tie together top-performing employees across all of our business units. See what traits will bring out your inner star and how they apply to any job. 

1. Ethical

Quality of work means nothing if it comes at the cost of an individual’s integrity or reflects poorly upon their organization. 

2. Reliable

When a project/task is assigned that project/task will be completed; or if there are bumps in the road, there is early notification of those bumps and ideas for how the team can reach the main goal through an alternate path. 

3. Results-driven

Outcomes must be used to inform future strategy or processes won’t improve.

4. Innovative

They know that to get better results, they have to try new things.

5. Team-oriented

They listen respectfully to other peoples’ ideas without judgment; they ask for and offer support to their teammates.

6. Curious

They have a mindset which tends to build relationships, promote healthy dialog, expand ideas, encourage the upward flow of ideas and stimulate innovation. They always look for the possibilities in an idea. 

7. Accountable

They ask the question “what more can I/we do to get the results we desire?” 

8. Assume positive intent 

They assume the best in others and believe that everyone is doing the best they can, given their current thinking. They do not act on their assumptions. 

9. Good listener

They give someone their full attention in conversation and don’t multi-task while listening; they hear the entire message, understand beyond the words being spoken and gain deeper insight and perspective. 

10. Appreciative

They appreciate positive behavior that strengthens relationships and improves morale. 

11. Energetic

They have a positive attitude and are enthusiastic. 

12. Role Model/Leader 

They are conscious of the shadow they cast and model the behaviors and attitudes that they want to see in their colleagues. 

13. Good communicator 

They are able to make themselves understood and do not hesitate to ask others for clarification when necessary. 

14. Supportive

They try to understand their teammates’ perspectives when deciding how best to support each other.  

15. Flexible

They are able to work with a variety of personalities, in a variety of conditions, and are willing to adapt to address unfamiliar or changing obstacles.

16. Self-motivated 

Their work ethic is fueled by a personal desire to succeed, rather than drawn from an external source.

17. Honest 

Trust is crucial to working as a team, and honesty is the key to establishing trust in a relationship.

18. Passionate

They allow themselves to become emotionally invested in their work, which yields better outcomes.

19. Detail-oriented 

Little mistakes can have big consequences, so they pay attention to the details, which allows them to understand the bigger picture. 

20. Persistent 

When they face a tricky problem, they dig their teeth in rather than admitting defeat. 

Careers blog subscription

Sign up to receive new posts by email