There’s a somewhat scientific formula to standing out at work.
Last year, leadership development consultancy Zenger/Folkman collected upwards of 50,000 360-degree evaluations conducted over five years on more than 4,000 individual employees.
They looked specifically at the leadership behaviours that distinguished “good” performers (those rated at the 40th to the 70th percentile) from the “best” performers (those rated at the 90th percentile and above).
Results showed that the best performers were rated a whopping 43 percentage points more productive than average performers.
Jack Zenger and Joseph Folkman, CEO and president of Zenger/Folkman, outline their findings in The Harvard Business Review. As it turns out, there are nine key skills that separate the cream of the crop from everyone else.
The following list is ranked in order of which had the most impact on evaluations.
2. Working collaboratively.
The ability to work as a team was a key distinction between average and top performers, Zenger and Folkman found.
Some employees may believe that their contributions are more likely to be recognised if they work alone. High performers understand that an organisation can achieve more if everyone pools their skills and talents.
In fact, at least one personality assessment that measures leadership potential factors in the capacity for teamworking and team-building. For those hoping to work their way up the corporate ladder, the ability to work well with others is key.
4. Embracing change.
One of Zenger/Folkman's clients cited a 'frozen middle' of employees who resist organizational change.
You can stand out from this group by welcoming necessary change in strategy, no matter how much inconvenience it causes.
More recent research by Zenger/Folkman found that welcoming novelty is a key contributor to leadership effectiveness. So if you're looking to get promoted to management, this trait could be crucial for you to demonstrate.
7. Using good judgment.
When making decisions, top performers weigh each alternative carefully and consider the potential effects of each, Zenger and Folkman find.
They conduct research instead of simply taking a chance, and understand that the impact of their choices could be huge for the company.
The first step to making wise decisions is understanding the biases that can get in the way -- from overestimating the importance of information that's available to listening only to the information that confirms your preconceptions.
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