How Brilliant Leaders Can Create Spectacular Employees

One of the most satisfying things about being “the boss” is having good employees. However, it’s even better to help a good employee become a spectacular employee. As hard as it can be sometimes to recruit and maintain top talent, the seeds of helping another person achieve excellence and high levels of performance makes it all worthwhile.

Spectacular employees aren’t plentiful, by any means. But they’re easy to spot as they really just seem to get it. Their actions always drive the organization forward in some way, sometimes in ways even you might not have thought about. Career advancement and reward isn’t an overriding issue for these employees because they understand the nature of cause and effect in business. And, to be honest, they know that if your company doesn’t show appreciation (and compensation), there are dozens of others that will.

Here are 10 characteristics of spectacular employees along with things you can do as the boss to help good employees become great:

  1. They enthusiastically want to learn about all aspects of the business

Spectacular employees know that they have a great opportunity to be part of something bigger and more worthwhile than just a job. They want to learn about other areas of the business—as well as be fluent in finance and management—so they can positively impact all areas of the company.


What you can do as the boss: Invest in continuous training and materials on everything from basic business topics like accounting, finance, marketing and supervision to higher education opportunities through tuition reimbursement. Make sure all employees have access. You never know where your next superstar manager will come from, but allowing employees to learn—yes, even on company time—will give you benefits far beyond the cost involved.


  1. Are company caretakers

They treat the company as if it were theirs. They look to make practical decisions about expenses and opportunities with the long-term future of the company in mind. They selflessly assess risk vs. reward when making decisions.


What you can do: Be transparent in your business. The more you share your financials and philosophy, the easier it is for employees to make the right decisions. Make sure your corporate culture reflects this.

  1. Create sustainable opportunities

Spectacular employees know they don’t have to be in sales or marketing to help your organization grow. Team members from every part of the company act together in a collective effort. They constantly keep their eyes open for ways to pay for themselves, whether it’s by recommending leaner, more streamlined and cost-effective work processes to learning about new tech that can slash production time.


What you can do: Make sure all your employees understand your value proposition and can easily identify opportunities. Then, reward them openly for their efforts.


  1. Take care of problems before they become problems

My best days as CEO are when I see positive changes in processes and procedures that I wasn’t aware needed changing, but my people did it anyway. Spectacular employees are always tweaking and improving systems proactively—and they do!


What you can do: Communicate a clear, written vision of organizational goals and objectives, and then encourage initiative so people feel safe and empowered to make change.


  1. Call it like they see it

Spectacular employees understand that hiding bad news helps no one. They find professional and diplomatic ways to bring uncomfortable information to the surface, but they DO bring it to the surface. They tell people what’s necessary before it’s too late and major damage is done.


What you can do: Foster an open communication environment where people are not only given permission to tell the truth, but also absolutely required. The “kill the messenger” style of management sadly still exists in many companies, but not in successful and thriving ones.


  1. Take delegation well without excessive follow-up

It’s great to be able to hand off work to an employee that has my trust one hundred percent. I know they’ll perform to the same high standards that I expect from myself. Spectacular employees can do this without constant attention because they quietly drive their own high standards.


What you can do: Set the example and the tone for high performance with minimal drama. Publicly reward those who can execute in the same manner.


  1. They lead by example and inspire others to do the same

They not only drive their own career but they inspire others to do the same without creating animosity or resentment. They see and create their perfect future, and also bring others along.

What you can do: Encourage personal and professional development and peer growth through earmarked group time and learning for career advancement.


  1. Research, Apply, and Refine

You cannot expect people to know everything, but you can expect them to want to learn how to do something better. The best employee proactively explores options, takes action and then improves without direction from the top.


What you can do: Invest time in exploration and expansive thinking. Encourage people to explore deep visionary projects with time and reward for the findings.


  1. They create happiness and reduce stress even when times get rough

Even at the best of companies, there are rough times, but spectacular employees know how to stay grounded. They understand the dynamics of people, stress and the work/life balance. They can direct their own path that brings out their best with family, friends, co-workers and career. They shine with a positive energy and share it with others, making for a much happier workplace.

What you can do: Create an environment where people can openly express themselves. Encourage them to work hard in fulfilling ways and achieve their dreams.


  1. Facilitate spectacular bosses

Spectacular employees make me grow as an employer. They self-confidently get their value and help me get mine. They make me want to be worthy of working with somebody of such high caliber, without ever saying it directly, of course.

What you can do: Make an effort to genuinely show appreciation for any of the behaviors above so people feel their value and will grow to full potential. Then they will do the same for you.


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