THURSDAY THOUGHTS! - Are you a remarkable colleague?

Posted by | March 08, 2012 | Thursday Thoughts | No Comments

Indepted to Peggy Edwards, one of my mentees, for this weeks Thursday Thoughts!  This week we are discussing:   


Peggy discovered the following article recently (by Jeff Haden), and it makes interesting reading. Great employees are reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, great leaders and great followers… they possess a wide range of easily-defined—but increasingly hard to find—qualities.  However, a few colleagues hit the next level in being remarkable, possessing qualities that may not appear on performance appraisals but nonetheless make a major impact on performance.

Below are eight qualities of remarkable employees.  Are there others?  Do you see any of these in yourself?  Should every organisation have one or more of these?

1. They ignore job descriptions. The smaller the company, the more important it is that employees can think on their feet, adapt quickly to shifting priorities, and do whatever it takes, regardless of role or position, to get things done.  When a key customer’s project is in jeopardy, remarkable employees know without being told there’s a problem and jump in without being asked—even if it’s not their job.

2. They’re eccentric… The best employees are often a little different: quirky, sometimes irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. They seem slightly odd, but in a really good way. Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun, and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair and flavour.  People who aren’t afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo, and they often come up with the best ideas.

3. But they know when to dial it back. An unusual personality is a lot of fun… until it isn’t. When a major challenge pops up, the best employees stop expressing their individuality and fit seamlessly into the team. Remarkable employees know when to play and when to be serious; and when to be irreverent and when to conform. It’s a tough balance to strike, but a rare few can walk that fine line with ease.

4. They publicly praise… Praise from a boss feels good. Praise from a peer feels awesome, especially when you look up to that person. Remarkable employees recognize the contributions of others, especially in group settings where the impact of their words is even greater.

5. And they privately complain. We all want employees to bring issues forward, but some problems are better handled in private. Great employees often get more latitude to bring up controversial subjects in a group setting because their performance allows greater freedom. Remarkable employees come to you before or after a meeting to discuss a sensitive issue, knowing that bringing it up in a group setting could set off a firestorm.

6. They speak when others won’t. Some employees are hesitant to speak up in meetings. Some are even hesitant to speak up privately. Remarkable employees have an innate feel for the issues and concerns of those around them, and step up to ask questions or raise important issues when others hesitate.

7. They like to prove others wrong. Self-motivation often springs from a desire to show that doubters are wrong. Education, intelligence, talent, and skill are important, but drive is critical. Remarkable employees are driven by something deeper and more personal than just the desire to do a good job.

8. They’re always fiddling. Some people are rarely satisfied (I mean that in a good way) and are constantly tinkering with something: Reworking a timeline, adjusting a process, tweaking a workflow. Great employees follow processes. Remarkable employees find ways to make those processes even better, not only because they are expected to… but because they just can’t help it.

“So what’s happened to lead you to believe you are either a great or remarkable employee? 

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Sharon Davidson
Organisational development professional specialising in personal, team and whole organisation improvement. Full range of OD tools and techniques available including: Belbin team role analysis; learning style inventories; 360 degree feedback; cultural assessments; personality psychometrics; strategic planning and workshop facilitation. (This list is not exhaustive!)

Improvement is everyone's concern: +44 1550 720902 will start that process today.

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  • StuartJDavidson says:

    Very simply: repeat business. Going the extra mile to understand business needs and processes ultimately strengthens the value of my services. When I exceed clients expectations, then I have generally found that they are happy to extend contracts or offer me more work.

  • Aresko says:

    Hi Stuart, great indicator and I would suggest you could go even further with your story. What about word of mouth (or any other) recommendations? The snowball effect can be very powerful in terms of appreciating your “worth” don’t you think? Thanks for commenting – please become a regular!

  • Peggy Edwards says:

    At the risk of sounding modest, I do recognise some of these qualities in myself BUT they do have to be tempered on times (hence the need of a mentor). Someone once said to me after one of my usual outbursts, ‘every organisation needs a Peggy’ which confused me at the time, but I did take it as a complement. Do I think I am remarkable, no just trying to get through the day, doing the best job I can but having fun on the way. We do need great leaders and managers, and we need remarkable employees and colleagues, there is no I in team….together we all contribute.

  • Aresko says:

    Everything in moderation is the moral of this story I suppose. Is it about standards, personal and professional, and being a “Theory Y” employee who is motivated less by £ and time and more by being valued and self motivated?

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