Most of our blogs focus on helping organizations get better in some way whether that means moving one step closer to goals, honing competitive advantage, or coaching leaders to greatness. But this week, our focus is simply on you. Not you, the manager, supervisor or person in charge but you, the employee.
So what does it mean to be a good employee? The list could be quite lengthy but I believe if you focus on these five traits, the rest will take care of themselves.
At the heart of it, can people trust me? Does my word matter or do my co-workers or boss have to second-guess my interactions with them? Before I answer with a quick yes, I have to pause and honestly answer these questions: How often do I forget about promises I’ve made? Am I prone to share confidential issues with others – even when I think it is shared with good intent? How often do I get caught up in finger-pointing without taking responsibility for my errors? Integrity is not a checklist trait. It is one that must continually strive toward.
#2 Do My Part
We know a team or business can only succeed when every person fulfills his role. Good employees do that but “doing my part” is really much more than just my job. When I’m focused on my contribution, I do my part by respecting my leaders, holding myself accountable, and helping others do the same. “My part” becomes whatever it takes for the team to do its part. Yes, those are pretty big shoes to fill. But if I am committed to this trait, I help those around me do the same. And that’s how the magic of momentum is created.
We know these moments. A peer gives us constructive feedback and our response in some way is “yes, but…” We thank them for their insight but we don’t really like what we hear. So we discount the feedback in some way by explaining why we do what we do. Am I open to input that challenges my thinking, approach or actions that can help me improve or do I on some level dismiss others’ attempt to help me see things differently? Am I teachable?
Do others see me intentionally getting better? Deeper job knowledge? Stronger leadership? Discovering more about our business or customers? A learner does just that. I can have 10 years of service with my company with very different outcomes: I am the same “Kayla” in my growth and development one year ten times over OR I am “Kayla” who grows in some intentional way each year over those ten years of service. Strong employees have a growth goal every month and they share what they are learning or growing. While some development may happen due to circumstance, a strong employee is intentional with his/her learning. After all, if I don’t get better how can my company?
Motivated. Passion. Focus. There are many words for this last trait. I called it Drive. Is every day just another work day or do I approach it with purpose? How much do I believe in what I do for my company? On my drive in to work each day do I think more about what I am doing after I get off work or am I thinking about the day ahead and how I will help move my department or business forward. Drive is contagious and is a powerful strength for an employee.
So, am I a good employee? I want to say yes. At least I’m working toward these 5 traits. How will I know? The results will follow. What about you? It’s never too late to start that journey.