How to be an Exceptional Employee. (An Employee with a Difference)


It is common knowledge that we currently live in an era where the supply of employees exceeds the demand thereof. For a single job opening, companies, have the opportunity to choose from a large pool of equally qualified and well-skilled potential candidates. According to the Employment Background Investigation Incorporated (, a job opening on glassdoor receives averagely 250 resume submissions.    Knowingly or unknowingly employees get treated as disposables since companies can easily get a replacement as at when they need it.

However, every employee has the opportunity to make him or herself indispensable to their company.  And it is the dream of every employer to have an exceptional employee, the one who is consistently driven by a relentless pursuit for excellence.

 This caliber of employees, cannot be disposed off without some degree of loss to their companies. These employees will be retained even in the event of downsizing, because they have become an asset to the company.   

 And, it is not because of the kind of degrees they hold, or the university they graduated from, but it is because this set of employees are a great deal differentiated from the average employee in terms of their attitude towards work. To be an employee with a difference, you first of all need to have clarity on why you were chosen out of the numerous applicants and exactly what your employer requires of you and work towards delivering that.

Being a great employee is not an impossible agenda or rocket science, it is achievable. It only requires you to model some traits of the highly effective employees and you are sure to replicate the same or even more level of effectiveness.

Below are some blueprints qualities to help you be an exceptional employee, the kind that gets retained, and have their contracts renewed.


1. Value Driven

One distinguishing feature of exceptional employees is that they are value-driven.  This group of employees (workers) understand that being an employee is about value delivery, whether to their bosses, their customers, or their co-workers. So they make it their topmost priority to create and deliver value all the time. To be an exceptional employee you must endeavor to deliver value always, value to your customers, value to your company, and value to co-workers.  According to Dr. Myles Monroe, you are kept for the problems you solve and you are let go for the problems you create.

2. Have their Priorities Right.

Exceptional employees most often have their priorities right. For you to be able to deliver optimal value you have to be able to correctly prioritize your work activities. Highly effective employees understand that every activity falls in one of these four categories.  Either it’s important but not urgent, urgent but not important, not urgent and not important and lastly important and urgent.

Often times I meet and talk to employees that are very hardworking, yet still, somehow they fall short of delivering the required value to their employers. The recurring challenge I identified is that most of these workers have their work priorities in reverse order. Activities that are supposed to receive the least attention end up receiving most of their attention. This way no matter how hard you work the results would not reflect.

For example, an effective employee should be able to prioritize with ease between the activity of attending to a waiting customer and submitting a report that will be due in the next hour. Attention should always be given to things that are important and urgent at the same.

3. Team Players

The best and most effective employees understand that being an outstanding employee is not a desperation race where you run others down and be fiercely competitive for the purpose of being noticed and be in the good books of their bosses or management.

Rather they understand that it requires that they be cooperative and supportive of their co-workers because their effectiveness is not only determined by how they meet their individual targets, but it is determined by how they collectively achieve the company’s target.  Outstanding employees are the firm believers that the team makes the dream work.

4. Continuous Learners

Exceptional employees understand that the service they render is their craft hence they must put in the effort to be better by continuously learning and investing in themselves on the job, reading books,  and attending conferences among other things. They know that to become truly indispensable to a company they must become an expert in what they do and that go-to person. So they take out time to continuously upgrade their knowledge and skills. They are always curious asking questions and wanting to know more. Thus for anyone to become an exceptional employee requires that you keep learning and upgrading your skills on the job.

5. Personalize the Company’s Vision

To be an employee with a difference requires that you not only obey orders from your boss but also you buy into the vision of the company and personalize it. Often times some employees behave in a manner that suggests that they are saying after all its, not my company so whether the company prospers or not is none of their business. However, the most effective employees do not think this way, they instead personalize the vision of the company. Knowing that if the company prospers, directly and indirectly, they the employees get to benefit too. Exceptional employees become brand ambassadors at will when they’re on the clock (at work) and out of the clock.

6. Innovative and Self-Motivated

Employees that are considered as the best by any company think originally and outside the box in order to provide novel solutions to problems.  They are solution-oriented and may borrow ideas from others but make sure they add unique touches to the idea, they are not the cut and paste kind of employee. Being innovative requires that you stay longer with problems as Albert Einstien stated it’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.  Ponder over the problem, discuss it with others to get a different perspective.  Also, these individuals have their own personal drive and are self-motivated,they don’t have to be cajoled  to get targets achieved.

7. Integrity

Show me a person of integrity and I will tell you he\she is one of the outstanding employees of their company. To become an exceptional employee, integrity is one of the qualities you must have. These individuals have a strong moral compass and take responsibility for their actions whether good or bad. They are not the ones pointing fingers at others or blaming others for a mistake, but they accept the role they played for how things turn out.

8. Leadership

The most effective employees are willing to lead others toward achieving the set target. They are quick to step in to ensure that things are in order. When the boss  is not around they still have some level of confidence that things will be fine because they know that  employee A, B, and C will take charge and ensure the right thing is done. Employees  A, B, and C are among the exceptional employees. However, they are not overbearing and controlling of their colleagues, but respect all whether low or high.


Being a continuous learner,  innovative, team-player,  personalizing the company’s vision, delivering value, having your priorities right, leading, and exhibiting integrity are some sure ways to becoming exceptional employees.

I hope you found this article helpful, comment below your thoughts, and like and share it with your friends. 


One thought on “How to be an Exceptional Employee. (An Employee with a Difference)

  1. Very educating. Spend a little of your time to read, whether you are in a car or on lunch break, and you will learn what it takes to become a good employee or remind yourself of some key things you are missing out as a good employee.

    Liked by 1 person

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