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Qualities of Stars in the Workplace

You probably know a star or two at work. Perhaps it's the coworkers who seem to be more productive, more efficient and have certain savvy about themselves. They seem to sprint their way to the top of the management mountain, and are suddenly, are setting standards and policies for you and everyone else.

"How do they do it?" you ask. Are they smarter or more talented than you? Do they just know all the right people? Is it luck?
One thing I am absolutely, without-a-doubt positive about is - it's not luck! Frankly, you probably are made of the same stuff as star performers. You are an intelligent, talented, motivated professional just like those stars. So what really separates the stars from the staff? The answer is: the ability to showcase their strengths. That's it. That's all there is to it. Want to know how you can shine too? Here are the true elements of the "Stars."

  • Stars understand the vital, career-building element of respect for their fellow colleagues. Co-workers, including managers, peers and support staff are all your immediate customers. Internal customer service must be exemplary so that you can have the best support and "tools" as you face the expectations of your external customers. So remember to exceed the expectations of everyone with whom you work, not just your immediate manager.
  • Stars learn that communication skills are critical to workplace success. Whether making a presentation before a group, writing an email/letter or speaking with a difficult customer or colleague, successful professionals convey information with confidence, leaving the recipients/listeners with a positive sense of direction or completion.
  • Great employees have initiative. This quality can take some dedication. Initiative in the workplace requires a desire to get more involved, ask for more work (I can already hear some of you saying& "What?! Are you kidding me? MORE work? I'm already swamped!") and step up the plate when new projects come along. Leaders recognize other leaders by their willingness to manage new ideas, time manage their own workload and get involved. This is a very wise approach to growing your career. Stars are not made by doing the minimum amount work to justify their paychecks. In today's workplace, you need to constantly be proving that you are a valuable fiscal asset to your company.
  • Stars never, if rarely, miss a day of work! Ever notice how there are people who live 35 miles from work, in a rural area and make it to work even during a snow storm??!! They never miss a day at work, come to work even when slightly ill and they can't remember the last time they called in sick? There is a correlation, or direct relationship, between attendance and success. Remember those kids in school who never missed a day? I bet they also had great grades. Cal Ripkin Jr, recently retired as the Third baseman/shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles after having broken a very long standing record held by Lou Gehrig, for the number of consecutive games played without ever having missed a game! The accolade and subsequent product endorsements made him even more successful- financially and as a national hero as a symbol of positive work ethics. Cal is my hero too. (Cal, if you are reading this, can you please call me? I have a picture of you in my office I'd love you to autograph!). Thus, leaders are reliable.
  • Stars develop and nurture a network. They develop and nurture their contacts as if it were an invaluable and precious asset. It is. This network performs a function far beyond acting as a crisis hotline when needing a job, but as an interactive give-and-take alliance with peers and people in power. Inside their networks are people that mentor them, and with whom they mentor. Most network contacts also include their friends and contacts inside career fields unrelated to their own. Stars know that their database/rolodex/palm pilot is the second thing to grab when the house is on fire.

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