Five Steps to Becoming a High Performer at Work

Guest post from Elizabeth Grable. Employers today are looking for employees who are going to give 100 percent and devote themselves toward the goals and vision of the company. These high performers form the backbone of any company — and are first in line for promotions and plum assignments; however, becoming a high performer requires more than just showing up on time and getting your work done. If you want to impress your employer and reap the rewards of more responsibility, more challenging assignments and a larger salary, you’ll have to devote yourself to becoming a high performer.


1. Take Initiative

You probably know your job description inside and out, but being a high performer means going above and beyond what you’re supposed to do. Employers want employees who are willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done, and that means taking initiative. If you see something that needs to be done, do it, whether it’s as simple as refilling the photocopier toner or more involved, like developing a plan to streamline a cumbersome process.

2. Be Kind and Considerate

When you think of top performers at your office, you might think of the hard-charging workaholic who stays locked on his computer all day and into the night — never interacting with the other team members. Although going to the extra mile is important, high performers aren’t generally antisocial. They take the time to get to know their co-workers and build relationships.

Doing so allows them to know who the experts are, and who to go to for help or feedback. When you know your co-workers, you’re less likely to let them down by missing deadlines or turning in subpar work. High performers respect their colleagues and want everyone to succeed, so they do their part.

3. Stay Engaged

Everyone has bad days. You didn’t get much sleep, you had a fight with your spouse — these are all things that can affect your focus at work. And while an off day once in a while isn’t going to destroy your career, making a habit of focusing on everything other than your work will. The key to high performance is engagement. If you are regularly dissatisfied with your work or distracted by other things, you aren’t going to do your best. Look for ways to stay engaged with your work by taking on challenging projects, or taking courses such as an online masters degree in management. If outside factors are influencing your work, take steps to minimize their effects. Not only will you perform better at work, you’ll reduce your stress.

4. Don’t Stop Learning

One way to ensure that you stay in the same job forever or get the label of “low performer” is to ignore developments in the field or continue to do things the same way — even if there is a better way. High performers are always looking for better ways to perform their task and stay on top of developments in the field. Many high performers take the initiative to further their education, taking classes for a human resources masters degree online for example, or even signing up for adult education courses in computer programs or communication. They then apply their knowledge to their work, helping their company to grow and improve.

5. Take Care of Yourself

You aren’t any good to anyone if you are sick or rundown. If you are too stressed to function, have serious health problems or are sluggish, unfocused or grouchy, you aren’t going to impress your co-workers or boss. Take time to care for yourself by exercising, eating right and getting adequate rest and downtime so, when you are at work, you can focus on your work and be a high performer.

Every employer has its own definition of a high-performing worker. Talk with your supervisor about what you specifically need to do to earn that designation and take the necessary steps. In the end, you’ll have a more satisfying career and greater opportunities.

About the Author: Consultant and writer Elizabeth Grable owns a firm that provides training and development for companies that want to encourage optimum performance. She is the author of several books on performance improvement and personal development.