This is the first part of a two-part article

In every academic or professional environment, there tend to be several types of people that we often encounter. There might be the employee who slacks off whose performance is underwhelming and affects the output of the team. Or perhaps the talkative peer whose constant platitudes distract from what should be discussed. At times, however, we can come across an employee who shows such genuine dedication and outstanding effort that the whole office cannot help but take notice. Displaying initiative at the workplace is a good way of showing that you are looking to go above and beyond what is asked of you. It is also a good barometer of an employee’s work ethic and how the employee may deal with pressure situations in the future. In this article, we will delve into what you should do once you’ve noticed that a coworker has been putting forth a noticeable and wholly ambitious effort at the workplace

An opportunity for feedback:

As we have discussed previously discussed, feedback is one of the foremost tools in teambuilding and employee engagement. Furthermore, it is through feedback that employees can grow personally and professionally. When confronted with an outstanding employee who is noticeably exceeding expectations, deeply thought out positive feedback will communicate to your hardworking coworker that his/her efforts have not gone unnoticed. This type of affirmative feedback discourse not only gives your coworker much deserved acknowledgment from a fellow coworker (instead of coming directly from management), but it also opens up much-needed channels of communication for the future. Just like giving positive feedback to a manager, you should look to be specific when recognizing your coworker. That is to say, tell him/her about specific actions or reasons that make them an excellent person at the workplace. Perhaps this person has improved their formerly lackluster performance over the past few months. Regardless, it is important to give direct, concise and realistic feedback to this person in order to acknowledge their development and thus keeping them motivated.

Don’t be afraid to talk to management:

Communicate to your superior about how your coworker’s excellent performance has positively affected you as well as the rest of the team. You’d be surprised to find out that sometimes managers are not fully aware of the positive effects, in particular how this exceptional performance is viewed by the rest of the team. Letting your manager know about your personal experience with an employee who’s making a real difference in the workplace not only helps said employee in his or her development within the company, but by providing positive feedback about an employee to your manager you are also showing a degree of humility, maturity, and openness that will reflect positively on your standing at the workplace.

Take note:

If have noticed that a coworker has consistently excelled at his/her task, once you have given this person positive feedback and acknowledged their first-rate performance to your superiors, now it’s your turn to see how you can improve your output at work. Although you may have distinct tasks or even different positions within the company, take your colleagues performance as an opportunity to see where there is room for improvement in your own performance. Look to be inspired by your coworker’s drive and professionalism and see if you can implement this work ethic in your own tasks. Remember, you aren’t always competing against your coworker, rather, you are competing with them since you are part of a team.