Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.

Steve Jobs, Entrepreneur and Business Owner


Every manager dreams of having the best employees they can find. A dream team of people capable of achieving so much with so little strain on management.

It’s perfection – but almost impossible to achieve.

If you’re hiring there is always a temptation to just go for it – find anyone (we just need people in place), hire anyone who has a good reputation without digging deeper (trust me reputation doesn’t always match reality) or just find the best people from those who we can find (do you want the best of a bad bunch?) . None of these strategies are effective in my view.


Hiring is strategic – you need to know who you want and why, and this can often take time.

When hiring I recommend you ask a simple question to ensure you find the best people.

“What behaviours do our highest rated and most prized people exhibit?”

  • What do your best people do? Not what they say they do, but what they actually do?
  • How do they act?
  • What do they say?
  • How do they interact with people?
  • How do they make others feel?
  • What results do they get – and how do they get them?

When I was hiring like crazy I did this exercise and whittled the behaviours of our top performers down to the ten behaviours you can read about in the free eBook.

Not everyone has all ten, some people may only exhibit one or two, but high performing effective employees demonstrate some or many of these behaviours – I’ve yet to see anyone exhibit all ten!

Photo by You X Ventures on Unsplash

For more details on each behaviour plus ideas about hiring and managing grab a copy of the free book.

Book - Ten Behaviours

The best way to find good employees is to hire people who exhibit the positive behaviours that lead to success in your business. Diversify, seek new views and find people who will challenge the status-quo, but find people who will do so by exhibiting the positive behaviours you know lead to success.

Here are the 10 behaviours I have identified talented people exhibit.

  1. They are visibly passionate
  2. They are open minded
  3. They are not constrained by their job title
  4. They become company smart
  5. They focus on the customer
  6. They relentlessly improve the process and system they work in
  7. They do what they say they will
  8. They are good communicators
  9. They add skills and skills and skills
  10. They are brave

They are visibly passionate

Good employees are visibly passionate and are a joy to be around. They exude positivity and a can do attitude. It doesn’t mean they don’t question how things are done, but they do it in a way that encourages discussion and isn’t just complaining. They attract other people to be around them.

They are open-minded

Effective employees are open to new ways of working assuming these new ways have been somewhat considered with evidence. They are experimenters and enjoy trying new ways of working. They are not afraid to open their minds to new ideas. They maybe don’t like change, very few people do, but they are open to it.

They are not constrained by their job titles

One of the worst things you could ever do to a team is create tight job descriptions and then manage people against them.

Sure, create them if you really need to for compliance, but celebrate those that buck their job description and do what the business needs doing.

Effective employees do not stand by and watch failures and poor work being done because it’s not in their job descriptions. They do what needs to be done, delegate, work with others and achieve success despite what their job description says. When was the last time you looked at your job description to make the right decision?

They become company smart

Effective employees learn as much about the business as they can, quickly. They get smart right from the start. Who is helpful. Who is not. Where does the work come from? Where does it go? What are the values? How do they do X, or Y, or Z?

They work out what the company mission and vision is and get behind it. And if it’s not a compelling vision or mission then they leave – remember, effective employees have choices.

They focus on the customer

Effective employees focus on the customer. Everything they do is from the customer’s perspective. They know that without the customer nothing else matters. They prioritise their work, but drop it to deal with customer issues. They work tirelessly to create the right processes and environments that support the customer, not internal politics, reporting lines or budgets. This is often classed as cheating by out-dated managers – but it needs to be done – the customer must succeed.

They relentlessly improve the process and system they work in

The majority of the success in any business is down to the system that people work in. Effective employees know this and they work hard to create successful environments, processes and systems so that people can flourish. Effective employees spend large chunks of time improving the system.

They do what they say they will

An effective employee does what they say they will. If they say it’s going to be done you can rely on them to do it – or at least try to complete (remember, the system doesn’t always help).

They are good communicators

Effective employees are excellent communicators. They listen, they respond (not react) and they are clear in their language. They encourage others and are crystal clear in their explanations and communication. They don’t waste other people’s time.

They add skills and skills and skills

Effective employees never sit still and think they’re enough – they always build new skills. They are effectively adding skills to skills to skills to skills. They are invaluable in this respect. Effective employees are a nightmare to write job descriptions for – as they often step outside it – but they also have skills and experiences that are rare in the industry.

They are brave

Effective employees are brave. They take risks, calculated risks. They are not afraid to speak their mind, ask why or challenge the nonsense that often happens in organisations. They are just the kind of people you need confronting madness and pushing the boundaries forward. This is even more of a positive behaviour if combined with good communication skills ; it results in less conflict 🙂

These are the 10 behaviours I’ve seen in effective employees. They are the 10 behaviours I interview for (using behavioural interview questions) and they are the behaviours I manage people against.

For more details on each behaviour plus ideas about hiring and managing grab a copy of the free book.