How to Separate Yourself from the Competition


Today’s global competitive talent marketplace is a complex and ever-evolving pool of individuals advancing their careers. Everyone is keen to flourish professionally. But what makes some employees achieve greatness and others remain ordinary? Leadership development experts Zenger Folkman asked over 4,000 employees this question across their five year study. The results are fascinating.

The study revealed what many of us suspect to be true: the “best” employees do adopt separate behaviours, and those behaviours are directly related to their professional success. In fact, the best employees were found to be 43% more productive than their colleagues. Zenger Folkman discovered there are nine significant skills separating the best from the rest. These skills are the proven go-to qualities for the most successful employees, encompassing leadership traits everyone benefits from.

1. Remain accountable

What do you consider your job description to be - a blueprint detailing the extent of your operational ability or a baseline starting point to showcase your skills? The best employees aren’t afraid to journey beyond their job description and discover better ways to deliver results. Challenging themselves is part of their day. They consider their job description the starting point upon which they build their professional reputation.

2. Effective communication and feedback

Top achievers consistently offer authentic feedback, sharing their knowledge and grounding their advice around their own past experience. The best employees focus on supporting rather than criticising their colleagues. They don’t linger over error but remain focussed on the desired outcome.

3. Collaboration is key

Zenger Folkman revealed successful workers consider collaboration and team building essential qualities of individual employees. Not only are these traits intrinsic to good leadership, this leaning towards working together speaks to creative thinking and ingenious solutions brought about by collaborative tasks such as brainstorming sessions and discussion amongst their teams to generate better ideas.

4. How can I help?

Volunteering is another staple of successful employees’ diet. Not only is volunteering an opportunity to network and develop skills beyond a job description, it’s an opportunity to share ideas, opinions and offer assistance.

5. Adapt or be ordinary

The global war for talent has created a complex marketplace, offering all employees the opportunity to not only improve and develop their skills but to transform their weaknesses.

6. Sound judgement

Successful workers take their time to understand what’s on the table before them. They are willing to do the research and make sure they understand all the consequences before committing to a decision.

7. Bounce back and shine

Most average workers focus too much on their mistakes, either by over reacting or not letting them go. This result is employees trying to cover up their mistakes or persist with behaviours that consistently show they do not work. The most successful employees see their mistakes for what they are: opportunities to learn and move on.

8. They do not react, they act

Successful employees allow themselves to get involved with their work beyond their job description and offer ideas and feedback.

9. High standards and solid goals

The best workers enjoy setting high standards and goals stretching their skills beyond the borders of what’s expected. The focus on achievement encourages their colleagues to do the same.

Piper Fitzgerald is a Specialist Talent Consultancy operating within Audit, Tax & Advisory Australia wide, recruiting only the Top 15% of candidates. If you are currently looking to recruit for your organisation or are interested in current market opportunities contact Simon on simon@piperfitzgerald.com or 1300 619 510.

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