How to Become an Extraordinary Employee

An exemplary employee not only exhibits knowledge and skills, but possesses exemplary attitude and habits.

The truth is the secret to becoming an extraordinary employee is not a secret. In fact, there are no secret formulas to use. If there is anything you need to learn from reading this, it’s using your common sense that makes the difference. Unfortunately, it’s not as common as one would think.

There are employees who stand out and there are those who stand out for the wrong reason. Obviously, you want to be remembered as the good one. But being good is not our objective here. You want to be extraordinary.

All of my employers agree that no one is indispensable. They are correct. If you’re not worth anything to the company, why even bother to keep you? There is no such thing as security of tenure, especially if your performance is mediocre.

The Pareto Principle or the 80-20 principle suggests that 80 percent of the outputs are generated by only 20 percent of the workforce. Now, are you among the 20 percent? If not, you need to do something fast. Here are some of the secret steps that are actually not so secret.

1. Do your job

Does this sound straightforward enough? This is a fundamental step in becoming extraordinary and getting higher pay. More than just being busy (or looking busy—there’s an art to this), you need to be productive. You were hired to do something, so go to work and accomplish it.

Let’s break this down further:

  • Know your key results areas and key performance indicators
  • Identify your position’s responsibilities and accountabilities
  • Know what tasks you need to accomplish
  • Learn how your position fits in the grand scheme of things

I hear a lot of employees ranting about how much work they have. Little do they know that they should be thankful the company still trusts them to accomplish tasks. Getting continuously diminishing workload is usually the calm before the big goodbye.

2. Organize your life

Congratulations, you’ve reached this part. It only means you’re interested in being extraordinary and/or getting higher pay.

As highlighted above, doing your job is unavoidable if you want to stand out and get a raise. The pivotal idea here is being productive. But exactly how do you do that? The simple answer is to organize your life. When you organize your life, you accomplish more. Likewise, when you accomplish more, you build credibility and trust.

Let’s break this down further:

  • Set goals and targets
  • Prioritize your work
  • Clean your desk, less clutter, less distractions
  • Balance work and rest—a sick employee is not productive

The more you organize, the easier it is to juggle work and your private life. Likewise, you get to accomplish more without getting derailed often.

3. Innovate even the mundane

A hallmark of an extraordinary employee is efficiency. This means finding new ways to improve even the mundane work. By improving turnaround time, increasing output, or refining quality, employees add value to their work and to themselves. Innovation will not just help you improve your work, it can help the whole organization.

Let’s break this down further:

  • Suggest ways to improve your work
  • Think out of the box
  • Master your workflow to pinpoint areas of improvement
  • Learn about other departments and their processes
  • Know how your work affects other departments and processes
  • Expand your knowledge and skills
  • Learn the best practices from other companies and industries

More than just making your work easier, innovating shows you are concerned about the company’s processes. Likewise, it underscores your creativeness to find improvements where no one else saw them.

4. Expand your competencies and skills

How much you know and how much you can do is important in performing at your peak. Likewise, your potential to grow in the company increases when you have relevant knowledge and skills. The more you can contribute to the company the higher your value.

Let’s break this down further:

  • Learn the necessary skills and knowledge in your field
  • Take additional lessons to update yourself
  • Learn from more experienced employees
  • Ask questions to broaden your perspective
  • Take note of feedbacks from superiors and co-workers

Add value to yourself through additional learning. There are numerous online trainings that are free. Also, attend workshops, trainings, and seminars that will help deepen and broaden your expertise.

5. Have a productive attitude and habits

Many employees are hired because of their knowledge and skills. In fact, competencies are integral in hiring employees. However, many are let go because of poor attitude and habits. As such, an exemplary employee not only exhibits knowledge and skills, but possesses exemplary attitude and habits.

Let’s break this down further:

  • Exhibit professionalism at all times
  • Show discipline
  • Have a win-win attitude
  • Have a positive disposition
  • Show respect
  • Apply the company’s corporate values on a daily basis
  • Help others
  • Foster positive relationships in the office

The right mindset facilitates productivity. In addition, it cultivates positive relationships.

Employees may not be indispensable. However, they can be seen as valuable assets to the company. Once you’ve consistently proven your worth, the company will take note of your effort and, more importantly, your contribution. As harsh as it may sound, employees are investments of the company. Increasing your worth to the company means increasing your value.

If you are more valuable to the company, it will invest more in you.

Things to ask yourself:

  • What have you done to improve your competencies and skills?
  • Is your company helping you improve your competencies and skills?
  • Do you think your skills and knowledge are still relevant?
  • How important do you think you are to your company?

Kennith Fletcher is professional writer from Essay4Students and experienced blogger with more than five years of writing about marketing, business development, and sales management. Also he has experience in the areas of data entry and project management.