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Five Ways on How to Be an Exceptional Employee

As a new hire, you will want to strive to be an exceptional employee. Some may think that being over the top flamboyant, calling attention to themselves, is the way to impress your new employer or supervisor. I disagree with that thinking. I prefer a more professional and subtle approach. I am a firm believer that actions speak louder than words. Follow these five simple methods, and you will be amazed at the results.

Growing as an Exceptional Employee

  • Attitude – Having a positive attitude and willingness to learn will go a long way in making a good impression with your employer or supervisor. Always strive to be upbeat, positive, and never let them see you sweat. There will always be hard days, tiring days, days when you just want to give up, but the circumstances will change. Being miserable will not make the situation better—only worse.
    Visualization has helped me tremendously to focus on the goal. See yourself in the position you want to be in, in that home you always wanted, in that car of your dreams. Once you can see yourself doing/having what you want, it becomes easier to reach your goal because in your mind’s eye you are already there!
  • Appearance – Designer or name brands are not needed to look good. The label for those items are usually on the inside where no one sees it anyway. A clean and wrinkle free outfit that fits properly will give you a very polished and professional look. Take pride in your appearance. You worked hard to get here, stand proud.
  • Be conscientious – Show up for work on time. Keep busy. Accuracy is more important than speed at the beginning of your career. This is key to being an exceptional employee. But remember, every job has a learning curve. Personally, I have been in the dental profession for over 40 years, and I recently changed offices. With all my office experience I still had to learn a new computer system and how that office handles procedures. This takes time and no one expected me to have the same speed as their long-time employees. Ask questions. There is no such thing as a stupid question. Listen and learn. No one will expect you to know everything in the beginning. Time and experience are excellent teachers.
  • Be confident but humble – Be patient and be willing to learn. You will come out of school and be ready to hit the ground running, but you still have a LOT to learn. Your training at Blackstone gives you a firm foundation, it is up to you to build on that foundation. In the beginning you will be observing how the office runs. You may see ways to do things differently, maybe even easier. Ask questions. Make suggestions. When I was an office manager, I would tell my staff to “come to me with your solutions, not your problems.”
    I remember one office I worked in I asked my boss why she did things a certain way. Her answer was “because we always did it this way.” I smiled, she laughed and then asked if I saw a better way. I made a few suggestions, some she agreed with and a few she explained why they would not work. Of course, she knew more than I, but she was willing to take my suggestions under consideration. It is all in your approach.
  • Team player – Being the team member who does not say “that’s not my job” will make you someone everyone wants to work with. Ask how you can help. Watch, listen and learn. An efficient team is like a well-oiled machine—all the moving parts working together. Everyone in the office has strengths and weaknesses. As an exceptional employee, capitalize on those strengths and acknowledge the weaknesses, but do not focus on them. In my current office, we have a wonderful team member who has been with the office for 33 years! She knows all the patients, and they all know her. She has fantastic people skills but honestly dislikes dealing with insurance companies and processing insurance claims. My strength is the insurance aspect. Give me a stack of EOB’s (Explanation of Benefits) and I am in my glory. Since I am not as familiar with the patients and do not mind posting payments, I offered to help her with insurance processing. She was thrilled to pass along that task, and this gives her more time to focus on the patients and other aspects of the office. Cooperation and working together to accomplish the daily tasks make the day less stressful.

How These Tips Will Help

The best part of these approaches is that they cost you nothing but your time and attention and will help you stand out as an exceptional employee. You will only get out of something what you put into it. Invest in yourself by working on your attitude, appearance, being conscientious, staying confident but humble, and contributing as a team player. This is an investment that will pay off in the end. Good luck with your chosen career path. You got this!


Colette Jesikiewicz, CDPMA, FADAA, joined our Blackstone team in 2020. She is a graduate of the Expanded Function Dental Assisting program at Luzerne County Community College, Nanticoke, PA. Mrs. Jesikiewicz received her national accreditation as a Certified Dental Practice Management Administrator from the Dental Assisting National Board and her Fellowship in Dental Business Management from the American Dental Assistants Association.  Her past experience in the dental profession includes chairside dental assisting, dental receptionist and dental office manager. She currently holds the position of Dental Administrative Assistant at Fortis Institute, Scranton, PA. and Administrative Service Coordinator for the DentalCare program at Jewish Family Service, Scranton, PA.  She looks forward to guiding students through their training in our Dental Office Assistant program.