Does the Boss Think You are a 10?

Posted By Terri Williams on August 18, 2017 at 2:30 pm
Does the Boss Think You are a 10?

What’s in a number? A lot, according to a new study by VitalSmarts in which employees were rated on a performance scale by their bosses.  

In the study, employees who were rated a “9” or a “10” were considered to be three times more valuable than their fellow workers.

Also, bosses felt that these productive employees were responsible for 61% of the work performed by their departments. Yet, 83% of bosses felt that their best workers experienced less stress than other workers.

So, what separates the top performers from their average peers? Both their communication and productivity practices:


According to survey respondents, top performers ask for what they need, are not afraid to ask questions, and know when and where to go to get their questions answered.

On the other hand, average performers suffer from a lack of communication skills: they respond slowly or not at all, they don’t listen or hear well, and they complain.


Top performers are also efficient. They’re well organized, make lists, and keep track of what needs to be done. They also exercise good time management, including prioritizing, and blocking time off on their calendar. In addition, they are focused and attentive to details.

But, according to the managers in the survey, average performers are disorganized, often late, and don’t meet deadlines. They’re always too busy and never have enough time to follow through. They suffer from a lack of focus and are not attentive to details.

Other Factors

Kurt Westfield, MBA, managing partner of the WC Equity Group, tells GoodCall®, “I find that top performers tend to have two skillsets that set them apart from the majority of workers: motivation and energy.”

Regardless of position, Westfield believes these individuals will always be successful because they’re highly motivated. “They are wired to outperform their peers, and motivated by incentive, passion to excel, position in rank, approval of their leadership, and expectation for advancement.”

Also, he believes that these employees understand that working smarter, not harder, will be rewarded. “The employee that always works harder is not always rewarded for his/her efforts because the additional man hours needed to complete the same task requires additional payroll to cover, at a detriment to the organization.”

Westfield believes there’s another key attribute that separates top performers from their less efficient peers. “Energetic employees tend to bring creativity and mental clarity to their tasks and often excel in outpacing their peers.” Whether at the entry level or corporate level, Westfield says that stress is a very real emotion, but he believes the most successful employees learn to harness it to their advantage.

According to Joe Staples, chief marketing officer of Workfront, “Our latest State of Enterprise Work report found that workers only spend 39% of their work week on primary job duties, so what happens to the other 61% of their time?”

Staples believes these workers are victims of “productivity killers,” an almost endless list of activities that can distract them and decrease efficiency. “For example, mundane meetings, over reliance on email, administrative tasks, allowing work requests to come in from any and all sources, and using old proofing methods to review work are just some of the reasons employees are not working more efficiently.”

He says a good work management software application can help employees operate at an optimal level. “This will allow them to collaborate more effectively and be more productive from the start to the finish of a project; automating work also means getting rid of wasteful meetings, spending less time checking email and paying more attention to resource scheduling so you can maximize productivity and determine priorities.”

However, Rex Conner, lead partner and owner of Mager Consortium, and the author of What if Common Sense Was Common Practice in Business? believes the problem may lie with the bosses instead of the workers – especially if bosses are not providing clear performance objectives.

“A clear performance objective is not subjective or open to interpretation,” Conner says. “The classic example to which all of us can relate is a parent communicating the performance objective of ‘go clean your room,’ but definition is subjective and the parent has a different interpretation of clean room than the child.”

In the workplace, he says such commands as “revise the process,” “get your team up to speed,” or even “complete 50 task analyses” are all subjective. “That last one sounds objective because it tells you how many task analyses have to be accomplished, but it fails to describe the standard to which they need to be accomplished.”

Conner concludes, “When objectives and measurements are clearly and objectively communicated, employee performance will increase.”

Terri Williams
Terri Williams graduated with a B.A. in English from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her education, career, and business articles have been featured on Yahoo! Education, U.S. News & World Report, The Houston Chronicle, and in the print edition of USA Today Special Edition. Terri is also a contributing author to "A Practical Guide to Digital Journalism Ethics," a book published by the Center for Digital Ethics and Policy at Loyola University Chicago.

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