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7 tips for being a high performer

Ever look at a coworker and just think that they’ve really got things together? That they’re thriving at their job, everyone seems to love them, and it all seems to come so naturally to them?


You, too, can be that person at work: a high performer. It doesn’t always come naturally, though. High performance requires dedication, hard work, and developing specific characteristics that will help you flourish in the professional world.


Being a high performer in your professional life requires many of the same characteristics needed to be a high performer in your personal life too, so only good can come from working to develop some of these qualities that will help you in all aspects of your life.


Here are some of the top tips for becoming a high performer:

1. Take initiative

Taking initiative at work is all about going above and beyond. Doing more than is required of you will catch the eye of higher ups and earn you respect from coworkers. This doesn’t mean always taking charge, though.


Part of taking initiative means being able to organize, delegate, and work as a team player, too. You won’t gain anything from taking opportunities away from your coworkers.


This doesn’t just mean staying late every day, but it means finishing your projects with care, taking that extra shift, or offering to help someone out when they’re struggling to finish. It means being the first to offer to headline a project, reaching out to a client to make sure they’re happy, and sharing your ideas and thoughts in concise and appropriate ways.

2. Stay organized and manage your time

You can’t be a high performer if you’re a mess. Keeping organized and using effective time management skills will send you in the right direction.


While we have a full article on improving your time management and organizational skills, here are some quick tips to stay organized and properly manage your time in your professional life that will lead you towards being a high performer:

  • Audit your time. To improve your organization and time management, you first need to understand how you’re spending your time. Once you see what’s holding you back, you can begin to reset and restructure.

  • Set goals. Using the 80/20 rule (80% of results/outputs come from 20% of causes/inputs), you can organize your goals in a measure of importance, picking those high-performance ones that you really want to achieve. Then, focus your time on making those goals happen.

  • Say no. Many people think being a high performer is all about being a yes person, but it’s not. Saying yes to things, people, or projects that don’t serve you or aren’t important just takes you further away from your goals — and those projects that do actually matter. If you spend all your time on pointless projects, you won’t have time for anything else, and you won’t be a high performer.

3. Continuous learning

Here at elocance, we’re huge fans of continuous learning. We’ve written about it before — and it’s clear that continuous learning has immense benefits for both your professional and personal life, including high performance. Not only does continuous learning help you stay marketable in the workplace, but it opens you up to new experiences and opportunities.


If you’re wondering about the best way to continue learning, there are many options. You can invest in courses, use apps, or even ask if your company has continued learning options (this is a great way to show you’re dedicated to becoming a high performer).


Microlearning is also an easy, speedy way to practice continuous learning, apt for those on the go. Short and focused lessons will help you retain information, but won’t take away too much time from your focus on high performance and dedication to both work and your personal life.

4. Take responsibility for your actions

True leadership behavior comes in the form of taking responsibility. When something goes wrong, own up to it. This is CEO behavior — and behavior of highly successful people. You don’t see a company’s CEO blaming an employee for a business failure.


This doesn’t have to be a huge deal, either. Just own up to a mistake and move on, noting how you’ll do better next time. This will gain you respect in the workplace, and it means you’re not just being a high performer, that people will actually view you as one. And taking responsibility may just earn you that promotion, too!

5. Stay consistent

High performers are not up one day and down the next. High performance isn’t a trend. It’s something that should be consistent. People need to depend on high performers, so consistency is key.


In order to stay consistent, it’s important to take care of yourself in order to avoid burnout. Keeping a balanced lifestyle and remembering to take time outside of work for self-care, rest, fitness, and time with friends and family is important for maintaining consistency in all aspects of your life and keeping those stress levels low.


6. Advocate for yourself

Self-advocacy is an important trait of high performers. You may not get to head up that new project, score that promotion, or even get a raise if you don’t ask — and show higher ups why you deserve it.


In order to properly advocate for yourself in a professional setting, follow the below steps:

  • Timing is everything. Don’t blurt out in a group meeting why you deserve a raise. Don’t ask for a promotion when your boss is in a terrible mood. Instead, pick the right moments — one-on-one meetings, right after sharing a positive achievement, or after receiving positive feedback.

  • Know your worth (and your bandwidth). If you’re going to push to take on a new client or new role, make sure you’re in the right headspace and have the time to do so, or you’re setting yourself up for failure. Knowing your worth is also important — make sure if you’re advocating for a promotion, you can back it up. Explain why other companies are courting you, or exactly why you deserve to be moved up. Concrete examples of achievements are important here.

  • Keep emotions low and stay professional. Don’t cry, shout, or bring personal life into things when advocating for yourself. Keep things focused on your professional achievements, and don’t get overly emotional. Companies want stable, focused employees, not dramatic ones.

7. Learn from your mistakes

Rising above your mistakes is a true sign of high performance. Everyone makes mistakes, and we already discussed why owning up to them is important. But it’s not just about taking responsibility — it’s also about considering the whys and hows of errors and their takeaways. If a mistake was made, think about the following:

  • Why did this happen?

  • How can we fix it?

  • How can we ensure it won’t happen again?

  • How can we move on?

Obviously, spending hours focusing on mistakes is counterproductive, but it’s more about analysis and figuring out how to move forward in a new way that counts the most. High performance is all about being about to bounce back quickly and efficiently from errors and making sure to do things in a different way going forward.

Bottom line

High performance isn’t something you’re born with, it’s something you work hard to learn how to achieve. Being a high performer takes practice, effort, and work. By following the above tips, you’ll be setting yourself on the right track towards high performance, which can lead to a happier professional (and personal) life.

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