Screening and developing the right skill sets for a position is essential. But managers who place too much emphasis on job qualifications mistakenly ignore personal qualities that, when combined with competencies, result in extraordinary performance.
Managers are usually comfortable assessing an employee's or a candidate's job-related competencies based on resumes, testing and interviewing. But singling out personal traits that contribute to star performance is harder. The following seven qualities provide managers with the best clues:
Speaks up: Speaking up to express constructive ideas and offer suggestions are qualities managers should encourage. Star performers are usually vocal when they believe a decision is wrong, and they defend themselves and their ideas when challenged.
When someone speaks up, it shows a commitment to the work and to the company. It's a sign that the employee thinks for himself, practices critical thinking and is highly engaged.
Displays modesty: In the May 9, 2012, Wall Street Journal, columnist Brent Stephens offered advice to this year's college graduates: "Your prospective employers can smell 'BS' from miles away. And most of you don't even know how badly you stink."
But self-puffery is pervasive. Just read online self-profiles. Look for the employee or candidate who lets ideas and performance do the talking. Those are the people who give credit to the team and partner with co-workers.
Challenges "magic bullet" answers: It's so easy to fall prey to "magic bullet" solutions. Star performers can look at any issue from different perspectives, poke holes, learn from past mistakes and chart how a seemingly fail-proof solution may have unintended consequences. And because they have strong networks, they know who needs to be brought in to find a solution.
Practices introspection: Self-knowledge is perhaps the most critical trait star performers possess. When you see a competent employee respond immediately to constructive criticism, you know you have a star performer in the making.
Achievement comes from being ruthless with ourselves.
Recognizes the importance of customers