We all recognize them: the employees who continuously get promoted, are a pleasure to collaborate with, and raise the standard at work. Yes, they may be superior colleagues who exhibit sustained focus and precision; however, that’s not everything there is to it. Here are the things genuinely outstanding workers do—and what you should strive for too!

1. Keep it professional.

To maintain a professional atmosphere in the office, here are a few key tips: avoid using your phone during meetings; steer clear of mixing conflicts with work relationships; be punctual and send an email if you will arrive late; and dress accordingly for important events – which means no shorts or t-shirts – unless you work in an environment where there is no firm dress code. In that case, feel free to break all the rules!

These practices contribute to what makes an employee a good fit for any workplace.

[Related: Managing Up: 5 Steps To Handle a Tough Boss]

2. Stay goal oriented.

It’s great to feel secure in your job, however, don’t get too comfortable. Exceptional employees are forever looking ahead and preparing for potential problems that may arise down the road. This same approach should also be applied to your career- you need a concrete vision of where you want to be in six months as soon as someone asks! Have ambition, set goals, and stay focused on achieving them – this is essential for success.

Cultivating good employee traits such as foresight, ambition, and goal-setting is crucial for thriving in any workplace.

To get an idea of your next move, ask yourself: Would I like a higher position? Is managing more people what I want to do? Do my responsibilities need to be altered or should they stay the same? Am I looking for increased authority and prominence or am I content as part of a team? These questions are essential for defining the path to becoming an exceptional employee.

3. Communicate well and listen even better.

To avoid bitter conflicts and passive-aggressive notes with your colleagues and superiors, it is essential to communicate effectively. If you have an issue, articulate it politely but candidly. When entrusting others with a task or responsibility be sure to clearly express the expectations upfront so that everyone’s on the same page. In case of delayed deadlines alert them via email as soon as possible along with specifying when they can expect completion instead of waiting until the last minute.

Most importantly, listen. Listen to your boss’s directions and ensure you follow them accordingly. Take the time to understand what is being presented by teammates by listening attentively and asking questions when necessary. Openly hearing others’ ideas will benefit not only yourself but also those around you in various ways. In short: just pay attention!

This active listening is a hallmark of outstanding employees.

4. Take criticism and responsibility.

Constructive criticism is essential to personal and career growth. Rather than deflecting or excusing, be open-minded as you make necessary adjustments in response to feedback. Nobody’s perfect – everybody makes mistakes! Own your errors, even if they weren’t completely your fault; this shows the strength of character and demonstrates that you are a leader in the making.

5. Be a problem solver

This may appear obvious, yet it’s incredible how many individuals claim to be problem solvers while they’re just vocalizing grievances. Simply identifying a difficulty isn’t helping anyone; you must come up with answers. As soon as I began approaching my problems this way and coming up with solutions instead of complaints, the results were astonishing!

This proactive problem-solving attitude is a key aspect of what makes an employee a good fit for any organization.

6. In general, be positive.

Even if being best friends with your co-workers isn’t in the cards, you will still be spending a huge chunk of time together each week. Having an upbeat attitude towards work and your fellow colleagues can go a long way in making you the type of person that people want to stay around! If socializing intimidates you, don’t be scared – even just offering up a simple smile or “how are you” when at work is enough for now.

Cultivating good employee traits such as positivity and interpersonal skills can greatly enhance your professional relationships and workplace environment.

This article was originally published on DailyWorth.com

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