Working as a manager has been a really enlightening experience. Not only did it teach me a lot about myself, but it also taught me a lot about what managers look for in employees. Accumulating this knowledge was a bit of a painful process. This was my first job as a manager and it really was very difficult learning to deal with all the different facets and interpersonal relationships. The way you interact with employees is different from the ways that you interact with coworkers who share the same status in the work que. All this being said – at the end of the time frame that I worked there, I really sat down and thought about what made a good employee. I want to define a good employee as: someone who you as a manager continue to want to work with, mentor, encourage, and give opportunities to. That being defined, I want to talk about the qualities that I as a manager look for in an employee, an acrynm that I like to call “ACTING PROWS”
- Attitude – Attitude makes a huge difference. How many times do you want to be around someone who has a bad attitude? A clue – 0. This goes for work as well. I know that everyone has bad days but please think of it like this – Your manager is dealing with a lot of stress, having to wonder why someone isn’t acting appropriately or stomping around their work space shouldn’t be among it. When you get to work – drop whatever outside baggage you are carrying at the door and walk in with confidence and a great attitude. One of the best workers I have had and one of the few people I really really enjoyed working with was a young girl who was always “Great”. Every time you asked her – she found one positive thing to talk about. You could ask her what was new and she would find something to think about. I watched her walk through a 4 inch puddle of water to provide customer service – her favorite shoes got soaked and the comment she made was “I have others at home I can wear tomorrow…. They will dry.” Her attitude made everyone love working with her.
- Communication – Everyone has always heard “Communication is key”. Ok – yes this is true, but so the way in which you choose to communicate. It’s very very important to remember that honesty when you communicate is great, but so is learning to phrase your words so that you don’t place blame on another person, sound aggressive, or being short. I have watched as two seperate people have become their own clique. They were so ademate about being “clear” communicators that they ostracized themselves from the rest of the team and did more damage then good. Please understand – it is important to clearly communicate what you need (both with your manager and your teammates), it is also important not to over communicate. Telling people what they need to do, being short in the effort to be clear, and oversharing what they think about their jobs.
- Timeliness – The thing that really drove me nuts was timeliness. When you are scheduled for a certain time – show up for that time. Yes occassionally running late happens. I had several people who would either call-in or show up late on a regular basis. This is frustrating for a manager because guess who is covering your job and theirs? We are. Let me be clear – If you are going to be late – communicate it prior to that timeframe. If you are going to call in – sooner rather than later. I strongly believe that calling in more than 3 days a month – you better bring a doctors note to cover your job. Regularly calling-in or showing up late is unacceptable. It shows a lack of commitment or an amount of burnout for your job.
- Integrity – Integrity is more than just honesty. Integrity in the work place while it refers to honesty it also refers to completing your commitments. Honor your word. This goes hand in hand with respect (Point 8) and Timeliness (Point 3). Think about it this way – if I as the manager tell you that I will send in your request for use of Sick Hours in this payroll, and then I don’t because “I had plans” or “I changed my mind” how would you feel? You would feel like I’m not dependable and untrustworthy. That is how managers feel when employees change their plans last minute. It provides them with the sense of not trusting the employees to actually do their jobs. The basic memo – fulfill your commitments and have some integrity.
- News reporter – Unless you work for CNN, ABC, FOX, Or BBC News – it is not your job to be a reporter. I’m not talking about telling your manager when something goes wrong or someone does something that is out of line. I’m talking about gossip. Let me tell you – I have heard so many horrible stories about the people I work with. All from the coworkers of that person. I have had gossip spread about me. It creates a disfunctional and toxic waste environment in which to work. Do NOT gossip. We all remember highschool. Gossiping about someone is exactly the type of behavior that puts us right back in the toxic, bullying environment that highschool created. Come in, do your job, don’t create drama. If you need drama watch shows at home like “Keeping Up with the Kardashians”.
- Guidable – Guidability is similar to teachability. The best employees are the ones that are willing to learn new tips and tricks. One of the girls I liked to work with was the one that I could sit down and talk to about how to change and do things better and it would be done. She would ask for advice and would take what she learned and impliment it. This type of employee is the one that will go far because she is moldable.
- Problem Solving – Helping your manager is the best thing you can do. The employees that become close workers with your manager is the one that not only sees the problems within the workplace but searches for solutions before bringing it to the managers attention. I’m not going to lie – I hated having problems brought to me because I would have to find a solution on my own. I did however have one person who would bring a problem and 2 solutions each time. Maybe I didn’t use her solutions but it brought a starting point to the conversation – one which we could bounce around and then find a solution. She was one of the best employees I have worked with ever.
- Respect – “Respect is earned not given” – Yes managers must be respectful, they have to earn the trust of their employees. However, respect should always be given to those in power. I have had people refuse to do their job. If they talked to the owners that way – they would have been fired. This really goes back to the attitude point mentioned. When you have a bad attitude you start to be disrespectful. Watch carefully that you don’t follow that track. At the end of the day – you are paid to do your job. If you don’t like it – quit, if you refuse – you run the risk of being fired. There are simple ways to show respect to your boss – don’t interrupt, do your job, be on time. These are simple ways to make a great impression and leave your boss more inclined to give you opportunities for growth.
- Organization – The best of employees are organized. They have organized work spaces and they have great time management. They keep lists of things they need to do and they take notes. Taking notes and being organized is a good way for you to start, keep up throughout, and end your day. I’ll be honest – I use Wunderlist on my phone. It’s a great app that allows you to keep multiple checklists as long as you want.
- Willingness – This goes back to respect and being teachable. A willingness to being teachable, learning a new way of saying things, or doing your job goes a long way. Like I’ve said the best employees I’ve worked with are the ones that impliment new strategies and show respect in the process.
- Service Oriented – When you are working in customer service – that person who is always on top of things. This really comes down to time managment, attitude, and organization. It is important to really focus on your customers when you are with them and pay attention to the little details that will make their experience better. Simple things like making sure that you can substitute an item out for them is important. But having that attitude and making sure they feel that they are the center of your universe is very important.
The little things like these are the ones that are going to make you stand out to your manager. They will bring you more opportunities because people will notice what you are doing. It’s rare to find someone who fits these qualities so when you do – it may take a moment for them to realize that it’s real but then they will reward you.
Have questions or a comment? Share with me!