7 Qualities of a Good Employee

When we fall short in our professional lives, it is easy to blame someone else—the company, low pay, uninspiring coworkers, a stale love life, lack of coffee, a bad boss, or whatever.

While these things can play a role, sometimes we have to look closer to home and admit, “It’s not them, it’s me.” We are the reason for our own underperformance.

If you’ve been slacking off or not giving your best performance at work, there are some simple but important rules you can follow to rehabilitate your reputation with bosses and coworkers alike; become noticed, valued and more productive.

If you want to keep your #career on track, adopt these positive qualities of good #employees! Click To Tweet

A simple but effective performance enhancer to consider embracing is a positive attitude. As Mark Cuban said in a recent CNBC Make It article, “One of the most underrated skills in business right now is being nice. Nice sells . . . don’t be a jerk.”

Bad Habits That Undermine the Qualities of a Good Employee

Sometimes to let in the good we have to first let go of the bad. It’s worth checking out this article from Business Insider, “Bad habits that make everyone at work hate you.”

qualities of a good employee

It’s well-thought-out list of 14 behaviors to avoid, including ones like bragging too much, showing up late and complaining too often. If you can identify with any of these, time to rid yourself of your old, bad habits and adopt, or strengthen, these positive ones.

What Are the 7 Qualities of a Good Employee?

So, what makes a good employee? Here are 7 qualities to consider.

1. Make yourself more interesting

There’s more to life, and interesting people, than work. So go to a movie, take a hike, read a book, listen to a podcast, take a class, find a new hobby. Not only will you have new things to talk about at work, but your confidence will develop, knowing that you are able to start a conversation. This will make you a better, more rounded employee and it will help you avoid the pitfall in point #2.

2. Stay away from gossip

It’s very tempting to linger and listen when you hear a juicy conversation going on.

qualities of a good employeeSometimes we listen and repeat without confirming if it’s fact or fiction. Being a part of a gossip circle can negatively affect your attitude, limit your chances of developing relationships with more conscientious coworkers, and end up with a reputation of someone who can’t be trusted. If you hear it, don’t repeat it.

3. Look for opportunities to interact with the boss

Don’t shy away when you see the boss coming. Instead perk up, make eye contact, look approachable. At meetings, arrive early and take that time to say hello or offer to help. If you keep up with the company’s social media posts, you’ll always be prepared to hold a conversation.

4. Expand your circle of work relationships

It is natural, and practical, to belong to work cliques. It’s also wise to explore relationships with coworkers outside your small circle or department, including ones with people of different ages and genders.

qualities of a good employee Establishing contacts throughout the company can lead to opportunities. It can open your mind to new career options and help you develop interpersonal skills. And management will take notice.

5. Be open to opinions and criticism

If your goal is to grow and advance in your industry, or become a more valued employee, humility and grit are required. Be humble enough to ask how a task or project could have been done differently or better. Accept criticism, no matter how crudely it is delivered. And before reacting, analyze it—it could turn out to be a gift. Don’t allow ego to dictate your reaction.

6. Limit time spent with negative coworkers

This can be challenging when you work close to each other. If so, steer the conversation to neutral, work-related topics.

qualities of a good employee Politely cut them off as soon as they start complaining about the same old stuff: “I understand that you’re upset about X. Why don’t you talk to manager Y.” Or a more direct approach: “I don’t focus on negativity, so let’s change the subject.”

7. Develop a personal code of ethics

Naturally, you are expected to know and comply with the company’s Code of Conduct policies, which, if followed, can be extremely helpful. However, it’s also good to establish a personal set of ethics to use as a guide that can help you productively and professionally manage prickly situations and conversations.

For example, “tact” is one of my go-to code of ethics. Before I respond to a rude remark or comment or a difference of opinion, I ask myself if my reply would pass the test. Is it civil, courteous and accurate? How we respond can determine whether the situation worsens or improves.

People Come and Go. Reputations Last

If after reading this, you think, “This is a bunch of outdated crap,” then maybe you are in the fortunate position of being exceptionally talented or possessing the skills and knowledge that are in high demand (at least for now). Or maybe you have a financial cushion that allows you to adopt an apathetic attitude towards work and coworkers, so you don’t have to worry about the qualities of a good employee. Cool. Just one thing; jobs, colleagues, and companies come and go, but your reputation follows and precedes you. If you wanted to learn more about the management side of small business and business in general click here. The more you know the better your reputation will be with the right ingredients.


social skills, soft skills expert, workplace civilityRosalinda Oropeza Randall, Workplace Civility, Soft Skills, Business Etiquette Expert, Media Source, and author of “Don’t Burp in the Boardroom.

Presentations are available to support HR policies and harassment compliance, address concerns, or to avert potential inclinations – upgrade or set a standard of communication and behavior – Up and coming managers – Interns – New-hire orientation process – Professional development events or conferences – College/university students – Athletes on public behavior – Actors to prepare for roles – NEW! Attorneys; polish client’s professional presence for a court appearance.

For more information, please contact me via email, or by calling 650.871.6200 before a dilemma turns into front page news.

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