A definitive guide to being a Star Employee

Ajay Balamurugadas

Posted On: July 11, 2022

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Read time5 Min Read

Have you ever wondered why some employees get promoted quicker than others or even are favorites of everyone in the organization?

Here are some common traits of such employees — let us call them The Star Employees. Every team is mostly made up of a few star employees, a strong core of good ones, and a few almost on the verge of being fired. Irrespective of the kind of work or tasks being done, if you want to transition to The Star Employees category, here are a few tips.


We are aware that more than 60% of our communication is showcased by our body language itself. Look at yourself in the mirror and see how you feel. Does that person radiate enthusiasm and energy? A good posture, smile, and being present can push your body language score by a lot. As we have to communicate with multiple stakeholders every day, it is very important to sharpen our communication skills — both written and verbal.

Be the person who is ready with the answers to the Next Logical Question and take the Next Logical Action. You would not only save a lot of to and fro but also increase your credibility and reputation within your teams for your preparation.

Use Elevate app every day for just 15 minutes. It helps you be brief, improve vocabulary, and sharpen your listening skills as well.

Get better at listening before jumping with your answers. A good test to check if you are listening is to see if you are preparing your answer or not when the other person is speaking.


No manager has enough time to spoon-feed every employee. It will be great if employees take initiative and proactively take the next steps. We have seen many employees wait for instructions even though they are aware of what to do. It could be because of the culture, their character, or past experiences. Every star employee demonstrates the quality of proactiveness quite often.

You get noticed easily. It is no guarantee that you will not make any mistakes. At the same time, that is how you will learn — by doing. The only ones who don’t make a mistake are the ones who don’t do anything.

Keep your senses open. Grab any opportunity that arises out of day-to-day conversations. Volunteer. Assist someone who has been given the responsibility. Sometimes, you will not get the credit immediately but it will pay off one day. Keep doing the good work.


Everyone loves a learner. In today’s world, the one who doesn’t learn becomes obsolete quickly. There are unlimited resources to learn any topic today. Organizations also encourage office-hours learning. Before diving into learning, make an audit of what you know, what is required and what you want to learn. Find something that lies within your interest levels and also aligns with the organization’s needs. After learning, share the learning with others in the form of a session, article or how to guide.

It is no secret that all star employees are lifelong learners and they view learning as an investment. Isn’t the investment on self the best investment?


Everyone is short on time. Every manager would love to have employees whom they don’t need to follow up. Follow these three simple tips to make everyone like you:

a. Stick to deadlines

b.Communicate often

c. Take next logical actions

As you ascend the career ladder, your ownership quality plays a very important role. People either trust and give you more opportunities or isolate you and give you redundant tasks based on this one quality — ownership.

Problem solver

How irritated would you be if every time your team came rushing to you with problems they faced. Don’t take me wrong — there is nothing wrong in managers and leaders solving problems and helping the teams solve the problems. People don’t like it when you don’t put in any effort and rush to others at the first sight of a problem. Learn problem solving skills. Understand what is expected and what is reality. Be smart enough to differentiate between what is under your control and what is not. Learn to recognize the emotions of people and their intentions. Communicate well and half of the problems would disappear. Accept that problems are never ending.

Aptitude vs Attitude

Have you heard of the quotation — Your attitude, not your aptitude, will determine your altitude. — Zig Ziglar. You may be a rockstar but if you are also a jerk, no one will like to work with you. There are many instances when rockstar jerks have spoiled the whole culture and work environment. They have done more damage than good. So, have a professional, collaborative attitude. Never burn bridges and keep your personal interests out of a professional environment.


The star employees are always on the lookout for fieldstones to assist them in their day-to-day work. They are aware of multiple contexts, well-read, have connections and continuously maintain the reputation of go-to person for any question. Even if they are not aware, they are resourceful enough to find out the answers quickly.


Innovation is not something that should always disrupt things. In simple terms, if any change can help you save time, reduce effort, add value to existing methods, that is innovation in day-to-day work. Star employees are always asking the following questions to everything they do:

– Is there a better way to do this?
– How would X (role model) do this?
– Is this even necessary?
– Can this be avoided?
– How best to document this process so that others don’t struggle as well?

Whichever role you are, whatever tasks you do, you can be the best version of yourself by focusing on these simple yet effective guidewords:

  • Communicate well
  • Be proactive
  • Learn everyday
  • Own it as if your life depended on it
  • Solve problems
  • Have a good attitude
  • Be resourceful
  • Be innovative

All the best for the Star Employee award!

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Ajay Balamurugadas

Ajay Balamurugadas, goes by the handle ‘ajay184f’ in the testing community and is continuously re-inventing his testing methodology. He co-founded Weekend Testing – a worldwide movement for skilled testing, authored multiple books available at bit.ly/booksaj and bit.ly/ajleanpub. His friends associate the terms – ‘Change Agent, Idea Man, Motivational’ to him. He tweets and loves to have long conversations on software testing and life in general. He is currently working at GSPANN Technologies, Inc. as Senior Director – QE. When not testing, he spends time with his wife and two children.

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