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Yes, Grow My Company

What Does it Mean to Be Top Talent?

Becoming 'top talent' seems impossible and elusive. Learn the three most important characteristics to determine whether you make the cut.

What does it mean to be top talent? The truth may surprise you. The definition for top talent varies from company to company and even from department to department within the same company. Becoming top talent can be downright elusive, given its very subjective nature, but there are some indications worth discussing.

So just who are these people being designated as the upper crust of the working society? The first characteristic highly talented people possess is passion. People who possess passion for their work are more likely to stand out. Why? Have you ever been doing something you enjoyed so much that it was hard to step away from it? 

Leaders assume that when someone works longer hours, without being told or asked, it is because they enjoy their work and that is associated with passion. There's good news, though; working long hours isn't the only way to demonstrate passion. Having subject matter expertise in a given field is another way to demonstrate passion... just be careful not to become obnoxiously informed when speaking to other professionals in the same field. Ask yourself: would your peers say you are passionate about your work?

You might not expect the second stand-out characteristic. Highly talented employees manage up really well. They proactively provide action-oriented updates on their key initiatives to their manager. They understand what their manager needs from them and they work to exceed those needs. When you work for someone, you should learn how they think and how they approach work, so that you can anticipate areas that will concern them or matter to them. Top talent excels at this and their managers can't seem to get enough! So ask yourself this question: do you take initiative during meetings with your manager? 

Lastly and perhaps most importantly, people who are top talent get results. They move the needle. Ask yourself: do you get results, regardless of the challenges that come up, or do you shrug your shoulders in defeat when facing adversity? You can be the most qualified person on earth, but if you cannot execute and get results, then none of that matters. It sounds obvious, I know, but time and time again, I see people who cannot get the thing done. Simply being able to execute puts you in a stand-out category. If you aren't sure, ask yourself these very important questions: What are my accomplishments over the last six months? What business results can I directly tie to my accomplishments?