8 traits of extraordinary employees

If you think it’s all about putting in 60-hour weeks, you’re going to be surprised—by some of these characteristics and behaviors, at least.

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Great employees are reliable, dependable, proactive, diligent, great leaders and great followers.

They have a wide range of easily defined—but hard to find—qualities.

A few hit the next level. Some employees are truly exceptional, possessing qualities that may not appear on performance appraisals but nonetheless make a major impact on performance.

Here are eight qualities of exceptional employees. See how many you have—or see in your employees and colleagues:

1. They’re a little different.

The very best employees are often somewhat offbeat: quirky, irreverent, even delighted to be unusual. Though they might seem slightly odd, it’s in a really good way: Unusual personalities shake things up, make work more fun and transform a plain-vanilla group into a team with flair and flavor.

People who aren’t afraid to be different naturally stretch boundaries and challenge the status quo—and who doesn’t need that?

They often come up with the best ideas, as well.

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