7 Characteristics Of Highly Effective Employees

by Holly Tate, Vanderbloemen Search Group

The difference between a mediocre employee and a high-performing employee is night and day.  A mediocre employee fulfills their job responsibilities and checks off their daily tasks. A highly effective employee takes every project to the next level by asking, “How can we improve this to best meet the needs of the people who will be receiving it?”

Every great leader wants to hire high-capacity team members who are going to take his or her organization to the next level. But how are you supposed to know from a few interviews how effective the candidate will be on your church staff?

Here are six characteristics of highly effective employees for you to look for when you are interviewing for your next hire.

1. They anticipate the needs of their team.

Highly effective employees don’t sit around until their boss gives them a new project. They ask themselves, “What does my team need, and how can I add value to them today?” They are always trying to think one step ahead of their team members and anticipate potential roadblocks or challenges the team might face. Instead of sitting back and hoping someone else does the work, they take ownership and make things happen.

2. They bring solutions instead of problems.

Mediocre employees bring attention to a problem. Exceptional employees bring a suggested solution to a problem that comes up. People on the solution-side of life are positive and bring energy to the team that is invaluable.

3. They are accessible and responsive.

Highly effective employees are accessible. They don’t isolate themselves from the team. They make themselves available to increase productivity of the team overall. Additionally, highly effective employees are responsive. Their teammates can count on them to respond promptly and move projects forward.  They understand that communication is the key to successful collaboration.

4. They have a NAP.

Highly effective employees understand the value of a NAP – a nonanxious presence. This doesn’t mean that they are laid back or give off a complacent attitude toward their work. It is quite the opposite.

A nonanxious presence means listening to the full story when a team member brings up an issue or problem and reacting with a rational, calculated response instead of an emotional, quick-tempered reaction.

5. They know when they are facing burnout…and proactively seek rest.

Highly effective employees who are adding value to a team run the risk of burning out. They are likely intrinsically motivated and work for the enjoyment of work, not solely for an external reward like a paycheck. Highly effective employees pay attention to the warning signs of burnout and take action to rest, schedule a vacation, and come back to work refocused to avoid bringing themselves and the rest of the team down.

6. They have the heart of a servant.

We have the option to approach each day with selfishness or selflessness. Highly effective employees are selfless. They approach their work with the objective of serving their team well. Employees who approach their day with answering the question, “How can I serve my team today?” are highly effective because they are helping solve the problems of those around them. 

7. They know how to prioritize.

Highly effective employees know what projects and tasks are more important than others and act on it. They are able to assess an overwhelming number of responsibilities and set a timeline for when and how they will be completed.

By no means is this list exhaustive, but this will give you a good start as you are hiring for your next church staff member. Make sure you’re not simply hiring a seat filler, but a highly effective employee.