Top Characteristics of a High Performer

How do you define a high performer? This isn’t really a question that can be answered in a few words, nor is there one correct response. A high performer can be defined differently across organizations, however there are common traits to be seen when identifying those who are going above and beyond. Often times, the top performing employees identified now, are those who become future leaders. They think outside of the box, portray creative thinking and show leadership potential that not only benefits the organization as a whole, but also everyone around them. They have a Growth Mindset and Team Attitude. So how do you become a high performer? It all comes down to the drives, motivations and attitudes you choose to discover and implement at work.

They put in the work

Have you ever heard the saying, “You only get out what you put in?” When aspiring to become better at anything in life, there is no way around working hard to get there. The same thing applies for a high performer. They say yes to new projects and responsibilities. They jump at the chance to contribute where needed. They don’t expect anything to be handed to them easily, and they go the extra mile to achieve their goals. Consider prioritizing quality over quantity. When you create a habit of putting in the work , you’ll quickly discover that success and improvement are rewards worth striving toward.

They embrace feedback

Guessing and assuming are never ways to reach your full potential. Although it is very easy to shy away from or ignore feedback, it can be the most powerful learning tool. High performers take everything into consideration. There is no guessing game when it comes to improvement. When you understand what is expected from you and receive constant feedback on your work, it creates a new motivation for idea development and inspiration. After all, what better way to grow than to learn from those you’re aspiring to be like? If you don’t naturally get much feedback, don’t be afraid to ask people for feedback. Seeking it out will let others know you are committed to improvement and learning from others. They may even follow your lead.

They are lifelong learners

It’s true. We learn something new every day, often times without realizing it. High performers however, make learning a habit. They understand that in order to fulfill career advancement and self-improvement, you must constantly be on a learning quest. This can mean attending different workshops, signing up for seminars, going to training sessions or reading trade articles. In the short term, this can seem like a lot, but the payoff in the long term is how high performers stand out among the rest.

They aren’t afraid to take risks

Being able to confidently take risks is just another way of showing that you aren’t afraid to make decisions or more importantly, not afraid to fail. High performers think of risk taking as a way to learn from mistakes (there’s that lifelong learning again) or realize they have the innovative skills to think quickly and confidently. In life, failure is inevitable. Again, this can show up as saying yes to opportunities that arise and not being afraid or holding yourself back. Once you learn to accept this and figure out how to thrive from your failures, a new-found confidence help will guide your future decisions.

They know how to communicate

It sounds simple, but being able to respond, react and listen are traits that can be difficult to master. This doesn’t mean you have to be a total extrovert either. High performers see the value in creating and maintaining professional relationships in order to grow their network. In today’s world many people are still developing communication skills, especially since technology is changing the way we communicate. Some people have anxiety related to picking up the phone to call someone. When you think about it, having good communication skills is the foundation for how you approach tasks or problems. When you learn how to be direct and thorough in your communication, it will be easily recognized by others, ultimately helping you create connections to help advance your career.

They are self-driven

Curiosity, motives, direction and opportunity for growth, are all traits within a person that drive success. High performers are not afraid of the challenge. In fact, they don’t just think outside of the box, they tend to dive right in. Taking the initiative to find the things within yourself that you know will help you progress is a major advantage as a high performer. No one knows you better than yourself, so be proactive in searching for opportunities that suit you best.

They are passionate and positive

When you become passionate about something, it isn’t very hard for others around you to recognize it. Doing what you love and loving what you do can be the sole reason for the positivity you spread throughout an organization. High performers who relay passion and positivity, can have a huge impact on those around them. They can even become a motivator or influencer without even trying. Not to mention when you are passionate, this becomes a very simple habit rather than a task.

They Network and Help Others

High performers often create a network, internally and externally. This network is used to gain and share information, keep a pulse on industry trends, and have a trusted community of professionals. Even for natural introverts, by getting involved in professional networks they can bring value to their current roles and organization, as well as, create networks that help them as they grow throughout their careers. Showing up with the intention of sharing information and helping others, authentic relationships are created that last a lifetime.

If you have identified some areas you would like to work on, you can commit to a specific action plan. Trusted colleagues, respected leaders, and professional coaches can all be resources to support your efforts to develop as a high performing professional.