How to spot a star in the workplace 

office music

Business owners are being advised of the top qualities to look out for amongst their workforce in order to recognise and reward their very best employees.

Research has been carried out into the typical traits and characteristics of career climbers so that business leaders know how to spot a star in their team.

Being a star employee means more than simply getting the job done. Star performers possess star qualities and are willing to go the extra mile to see that tasks are finished to the very best of their ability.

A-players can tolerate conflict and are willing to say what others can’t or won’t, but they’re also able to keep their ego under control and neutralise toxic colleagues.

Chris Meredith, CEO of, who commissioned the research, said: “We all like to think that we’re at the top of our game as far as work performance is concerned, but in reality, only a very small percentage of a workforce will fall into this bracket.

“Unfortunately, the nature of business means that employees will always come and go, but business leaders should be recognising and rewarding their very best workers so that they stay and continue to bring their best to the company.

“Recognising these people isn’t as easy as it sounds. An employee might be very punctual, efficient and full of great ideas, but if they fail to follow those ideas through or if they’re generally difficult to work with, they don’t possess the qualities that will push them to the very top.

“The traits and characteristics we’ve recognised will be present in many, if not all, top performers, so it’s a good guide to go by when it comes to promoting and rewarding staff.”

 They’re not confined to their job description

One thing an exceptional employee will never say is, “That’s not in my job description.” Exceptional employees are not intimidated or entitled, and so are willing to work outside the boundaries of their official job role. Instead of expecting recognition or compensation to come first, they forge ahead in their work, confident that they’ll be rewarded later but unphased if they’re not.

They can tolerate conflict

Whilst the best employees certainly don’t seek out conflict, they don’t run away from it either. They’re able to withstand personal attacks and maintain their composure while presenting their positions calmly and logically without flying off the hook.

They say what others can’t or won’t

Stars in the workplace aren’t afraid to ask difficult questions, or to challenge an executive decision that they feel may be risky. This doesn’t mean that they speak out of turn or make rash decisions though – they think before they speak and wisely choose the best time and place to do so.

They keep their ego under control

Your best employees will always have egos – it’s part of what drives them. However, exceptional employees will never give their egos more weight than what is deserved. They’re willing to admit when they’re wrong and willing to do things someone else’s way, even if it means their pride takes a hit in the process.

They’re proactive and self-direct

The best employees in any workplace are more likely to perform their own research and spend more time on projects than average performers. They self-motivate and self-initiate new assignments and challenges, and seek out those in the organisation who have the influence and knowledge they need to achieve their goals and progress to the next level.

They neutralise toxic people

Star employees are able to control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

They advocate for the business

All employees should be goodwill ambassadors for your company, but you will notice that the excitement of star workers will rub off on both other employees and customers. Passionate employees enjoy their jobs and spread their passion to others.

They get along with their colleagues

Not only are the best employees a delight to be around in the office, but they’re awesome team players too. It’s all about adaptability – the ability to work harmoniously within a team, but also to step into a leader role when needed. The star performer can both collaborate and engage, and area often the people who everyone else tends to go to for advice.

They’re constantly trying to improve

Truly stellar employees are never quite content. They’re constantly learning new things, trying new approaches, and striving to work smarter.

They’re marketable

A-players have integrity and leadership skills that people respond to, and generally speaking they’re very likeable. Outside of the office walls, this means they can be trusted to represent the brand well. Managers know they can send these employees out to meet with clients and prospects without worrying about what they’ll say or how they’ll act.