You finally get the call you have been waiting for…
Celebrations are often short lived; a new job means another chance to prove your value to your employer. It dawns on you, if you do not perform; you are letting yourself down.
Hey, it is not all downhill from here!! Want to leave your employer impressed? Get the opportunity for progression and the acknowledgement you deserve? Let’s take a look at high performers.
Most employers are looking for high performers – somebody whose performance stands out from the next person. So what do employers seek in high performers?
High Performers are different because of their attitudinal characteristics.
There are, of course, many characteristics that are desirable; such as the ability to make decisions, leadership skills and working effectively as part of a team, but do these make an employee a high performer? No, not always! According to in-depth research carried out by Leadership IQ “46% of people that are hired will fail within the first 18 months. They don’t fail for lack of skills but rather, lack of attitude.”
So what is required? Let’s start by building a foundation.
Firstly, this may be stating the obvious, but high performers listen. They listen to understand and process information given to them. They take time to recognise where the company is facing barriers and, where they can, they offer support to the company and the team. Listening is an active process, it is critical in the work environment. This is the doorway through which employers communicate how the company is performing; also how you are performing.
Listening reduces misunderstandings, high performers concentrate on listening. This can increase productivity and faster progress towards goals. Leaders that have poor listening skills can jeopardise their working relationship with their employees, that then can build resentment and starts their search for other opportunities.
High performers listen and are able to demonstrate their ability to care about the company and their teams, it can help them complete tasks more effectively and to maintain focus on tasks at hand with minimal mistakes.
The second characteristic is resilience, even when dealing with the dullest tasks high performers work hard and this requires resilience. Even when things are not great, they are able to focus on what is required of them.
The road to success is seldom a straight path, it involves many twists and turns, it takes determination to keep going. High performing individuals think differently, they possess a set of skills that assist them to persevere in the face of hardship. Research has shown the world’s top athletes can continue to produce their best performances at times when they are under significant stress. High performers develop skills to handling those stresses and display resilience.
The greater resilience a person demonstrates, the more likely they will respond positively to failing, allowing them to learn from their mistakes and use the knowledge gained to improve their performance in the future. Resilience can be improved by being passionate about the goal they are looking to achieve; high performers look to achieve.
Thirdly, being satisfied with your line of work! This thought is often neglected. We spend 8-10 hours a day at our job; this is a major portion of our life spent on something we may have no love for. So how are we expected to still be a high performer when our heart is not really in it? If you are in a job where you feel like this, change it. It is no benefit to you or your employer to remain in the current role. High performers are satisfied with their work, it often feels less like work thus motivating a positive attitude resulting in high performance. Evidence suggests that if you are dissatisfied in the workplace, you may be working harder and be irritating your colleagues. The impact that job satisfaction has on job performance has important implications for your company, when employers look to retain talented employees. Increased job performance can lead to increased job satisfaction; this results in reduced staff turnover and reduced absenteeism.
Fourthly, high performers set themselves clear goals. When Edwin Locke began goal setting research in 1960, a linear relationship was revealed between goal setting and improved productive performance. Goal setting is key; this entails the conscious process of establishing various levels of performance in order to get the desired outcomes. High performers often set their goals using a structure that directs all the actions and behaviours which improves any unsatisfactory performance.
High performers set themselves personal goals and work hard to achieve them. These individuals are organised. The goal setting theory shows motivation to succeed in reaching goals, the theory also states that individuals will channel effort towards accomplishing goals which in turn increases performance and efforts involved. There are many reasons why high performers set goals; they want to feel challenged, they align their goals with the company’s goals to contribute to the success of the organisation and also personal success. Setting goals keeps high performers motivated; they are able to understand what works for them and how to adjust the goals so they are still relevant. Get yourself in a set pattern by setting goals and achieving them.
My fifth point refers to Critical thinking. Being able to manage your role is expected by your employer but they seek individuals that are able to understand business needs strategically and what drives them. They want individuals that are analytical in their thinking, which means understanding the company strategy and focusing on where the company needs to drive for growth. Employers understand the importance of identifying critical thinkers and testing their ability before allowing them in their company, they look to gauge high performing individuals who engage in quality thinking and making better independent decisions. Critical thinking tests such as Watson Glaser are used by employers to measure an individual’s ability to conceptualise and reason effectively. It is a common selection tool that is used to understand cognitive abilities in professionals. Employers also use the Watson Glaser test to identify high performers as it can give a strong prediction for job success.
Lastly, Intelligence! A high performer needs to have the initiative to be able to plan, organise and prioritise to get the job done. Not only that, but also to surround themselves with intelligent people who are not afraid of asking questions. When working closely with other high achievers they are able to absorb the positive energy and learn from those around them.
To those that fear that they are not, worry not!! These traits can often be learned through practice. Anyone can be a high performer; it is down to you and how much you want it.
Darwin Rhodes Team