They Speak Up in Meetings
Especially if you’re in a large meeting, intimidated by the higher-ups there, or don’t know much about what’s going on, it’s easy to sit tight and listen. But the people who get ahead don’t wait for permission or an invitation to speak—they make sure everyone in the room knows they have something to contribute. Even if you don’t have a suggestion? “Speaking up to advocate for a co-worker’s point of view or asking a well thought-out question can go just as far,” says leadership coach Jo Miller.
You’ve heard it a thousand times—but it consistently holds true. People who get ahead at work look to those above them and emulate not only the clothes they wear, but the ways in which they present themselves in the office, interact with others, and approach their work.
They Pitch In
At most companies, there’ll be opportunities to join committees or take on responsibilities that aren’t necessarily part of your job description: Your company is overhauling its social media procedures and needs a representative from every department to sit on the project team, say, or your office is putting on a major fundraiser and needs someone to coordinate with the event planning company. The most successful people pitch in—so they’re always right there where the action is.
Anyone can drop a complaint into the suggestion box, but the marker of a truly brilliant employee is coming up with solutions to those problems. Becoming a problem solver shows that you care—not only about your own career, but about the long-term health of the business as well.
How to be a good employee
1. Adhere to company guidelines
When first starting a job, thoroughly read through your employee handbook. Companies create these handbooks to keep employees safe and comfortable at work. By following your company’s policies, you set a good example for other employees. This means acting professionally, staying on task and being honest with your time.
2. Work toward the company’s goals
Get to know what your company is working toward and try to find ways to meet these goals. Being a good employee could mean that you take notes during company meetings and learn what each departments’ objectives are. By paying attention, you can begin to think of ways you can help your workplace succeed.
3. Treat everyone with respect
Always follow the golden rule, which is to treat others how you want to be treated. When conversing with coworkers, make an effort to only speak kindly of others. Likewise, during a meeting, make sure to give others a chance to speak. Practicing active listening is a way to show your respect. As coworkers are sharing their thoughts and opinions, show them that you’re listening closely to what they’re saying.
4. Use your best effort
While you’re on the clock, make sure to consistently work hard. This means finding ways to prioritize your work and put forth your best efforts. By taking the time to complete tasks or projects well, you help your company succeed. You should still take time for some breaks throughout the workday, though, because they can help you feel refreshed and ready to get things done.
5. Become an expert at your job
Try to learn everything you can about your position, whether that be certain skills, tools or programs that can help you do your job better. Join job-specific online forums or read industry publications to learn about your field of work. Check the news for stories related to your job. Attending workshops and educational seminars can also help you learn more. By continuing your education, you show your employer that you value your position.
6. Offer value to your workplace
Think of what makes you a unique and one-of-a-kind employee. By finding ways you can offer value to your workplace, your employer may see you as an irreplaceable employee. For instance, you could develop a certain skill that no one else on your team has. Likewise, you can make an effort to share your thoughtful ideas at the company meetings.
7. Focus on solutions
Rather than focusing on a problem, be an employee who offers solutions. Your employer may appreciate it more than if you just pointed out problems. Being proactive and helpful during challenging situations shows that you are a hard-working individual. Focus on using your problem-solving, critical thinking and creative abilities to find solutions.
8. Be open to change
One major characteristic of a good employee is adaptability. When your workplace goes through changes, be someone who embraces them. Find ways to work with sudden changes and use them to your advantage. For instance, if your company gets a new client, be proactive and research everything you can about them. This way, you might be ahead of other employees and can start getting to work.
9. Own your mistakes
Along with celebrating your achievements, it’s important to admit your mistakes. Taking responsibility for your errors shows that you are an honest employee. Once you own the mistake, think of ways to fix it. Everyone makes mistakes, but it takes a special kind of person to acknowledge what they could do better next time.
10. Build relationships
Work on creating meaningful bonds with your supervisors and coworkers. Find ways to be helpful to others and offer them support when they need it. Building relationships with others often makes work more enjoyable. Embrace things like company events, team lunches, after-work happy hours and any other social opportunities.
Tips for being a good employee
Find ways to motivate yourself
Creating a reward system, learning the power of positive thinking and maintaining a healthy work-life balance are all ways that can help you feel more motivated. By finding a way to boost your energy and stay on task, you can be a more successful employee.
Focus on your short-term and long-term goals
Practice healthy habits
Regular exercise, getting enough sleep and eating well are all a part of being your best self. When you treat your mind and body well, you can feel more energized and ready to embrace the day. Remember that mental health is just as important as physical health, so find ways to relax your mind, too.
Develop your skills
Good employees have a wide range of skills and qualities, such as communication, problem-solving, critical thinking, ambition and adaptability. Reflect on which of these you can improve.
Look for the positive side of things
Being optimistic can make you a more enjoyable person to work with. By focusing on the good and finding ways to overcome challenges, you can facilitate a more positive work culture.
10. Always strive for excellence.
The last step is to always strive for excellence in everything you do! If you’re assigned to shredding the papers, then shred every paper quickly and efficiently. If you’re tasked to do a presentation, then come up with a creative and informative one that everyone will enjoy. The point is, you do more than what is expected of you.
If you always strive for excellence, then that means better outputs at work and better relationships with your co-workers. Try your best to become a better version of yourself every day. Don’t wait for your boss or employer to professionally and personally develop you. Start doing your own professional development. Have self-leadership!
As an employee, the more you work, the more you learn. Becoming a professional doesn’t come overnight, rather it takes years of hard work and strict following of these ten ways in order to become one. Everyone starts at the bottom, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t work yourself up! Just remember to always strive for excellence and to be professional in the things you do, and success will eventually follow you everywhere!
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