How To Be A Good Employee (With Examples)

By Sky Ariella
Aug. 28, 2022
Articles In Life At Work Guide

Find a Job You Really Want In

Being a good employee can take the success of your career to places you never knew were possible. That’s a concept that many professionals are familiar with. Even though most people know that they have to be productive employees to progress in their careers, the meaning of a good employee is less straightforward.

Employees have the skills and experience capable of doing their job. Otherwise, they wouldn’t have been hired in the first place. However, the best employees go above and beyond the basic duties of their job. They display qualities that make for a stronger-than-average employee. These team members are the first to be considered for a promotion or supervisory position when it opens up.

Key Takeaways:

  • The top three ways to be a good employee is to be passionate about the job, have strong communication skills, and have confidence in yourself and your work.

  • It’s important to be reliable and be a team player.

  • Having the qualities to be a good employee not only benefits you but also your coworkers and make your work-life better.

How To Be A Good Employee (With Examples)

The Importance Of Building Good Employee Characteristics

Employees need to know how to do their job, but what makes them stand out even further is good employee characteristics. These are soft skills that make your performance better in areas like teamwork, creativity, and problem-solving.

These qualities complement the hard skills you’ve developed at work to make you an all-around pleasurable and productive employee to work with.

Being a good employee at work helps the success of the company you work for, but it benefits you as well. Possessing qualities that make you a good employee makes your work-life experience better, in terms of working well with co-workers and finishing work to expectation.

Displaying good employee characteristics also builds a connection with your employer and shows them that you care about your work.

When it comes time for your performance to be evaluated for a raise or a management role needs to be filled, your employer will remember all the excellent employee characteristics you demonstrated. Your career growth and overall professional success depend on your employer noticing some good employee characteristics in you, in addition to a general competency for your job responsibilities.

How To be a Good Employee

Once coming to an understanding that there’s a difference between an employee and a good one, you may be wondering what the common traits of a good employee are.

Review the following to determine the areas that you’re solid in at work and where you could step up your game to improve.

  1. Passionate about the job. One trait that strongly contributes to an employee’s performance quality is how passionate they are about their job and field. Someone who’s passionate and motivated in their career is an engaged employee. That means that they’re willing to go the extra mile and are driven to succeed in their professional life because they genuinely care about the position and company.

    Employers look for people who are passionate about the industry they work in because of more than just a paycheck. It increases the likelihood that they’ll put forth their best work. Being passionate about your job is the foundation of being a good employee.

  2. Strong communication. An office needs strong communication to function properly. No matter what field you work in, you’ll have to successfully interact with other people at some point. Whether you’re having a casual conversation with a co-worker or coordinating on a project with a larger team, communicating effectively and professionally drives a company’s productivity.

    Improving your interpersonal skills can significantly impact the success of your work. Your co-workers and supervisors have valuable insight that can strengthen your performance and make you a better employee.

    Examples of strong communication include:

    • Being a good listener

    • The ability to interpret nonverbal communication as well as verbal

    • Being polite

    • Being direct and clear with your communication

  3. Confidence. Being a confident employee can make you a better one and further your career growth. If you don’t trust your abilities to get a job done well, your employer won’t rely on you either. Being firm in your confidence can lead you to solve problems more effectively, communicate with your team better, and flourish in leadership roles with potentially higher salaries.

    Examples of confidence characteristics include:

    • Looking for new ways to improve your skills

    • Knowing when to ask for help

    • Adapting quickly to new roles and responsibility

    • Listening to others more than you speak

  4. Take charge. Something that can take your performance up a notch is taking charge in your work life. This means taking the initiative and not waiting around to be told to do something. Get involved as a member of your company who has an impact on its success.

    Doing something as simple as suggesting an idea or starting work on a task you know you’ll be asked to do eventually can significantly strengthen your employer’s perception of your work ethic.

    Examples of leadership characteristics include:

    • The ability to identify the teams strengths and weaknesses

    • Being able to inspire your coworkers

    • Giving and receiving feedback in a constructive way

    • having strong communication skills

  5. Dress to impress. While style choices can be an afterthought when it comes to your work performance, it makes a massive impact on how your employer sees you. Dressing inappropriately or messily at work can make you seem unprofessional, even if you’re contributing the best work on your team.

    Making considerations for the season, style, and professionalism in your wardrobe can upgrade your work performance tenfold.

  6. Conflict resolution. Dealing with conflict in the workplace is inevitable, but that doesn’t mean it has to harm the workplace environment. Many situations that arise as conflict can end up as an improvement in a company’s functioning. For these reasons, employers often consider individuals with strong conflict resolution skills and the ability to work well with others to be some of their best employees.

  7. Continuing to educate oneself. A good employee continues to educate themselves, regardless of where they are in their career. The CEO of a major company didn’t get there by being satisfied with their knowledge. They did it by continually pursuing more learning opportunities.

    Learning more outside of the workplace can mean anything from taking an online class to improve your soft skills to working towards a long-term degree. It’s all about putting in the effort to make yourself a more educated employee with enhanced work performance.

  8. Networking. Successful professionals in any field achieve their position by playing an active part in their growth, which means networking. Developing your professional bonds can provide opportunities in the future that you could’ve never seen coming. It can also help your performance as an employee by allowing for a free exchange of ideas with other professionals in your industry.

  9. Trustworthiness. Trust is a basic tenant of all relationships, including those in the workplace. At the very least, your bosses and colleagues need to be able to trust you to get good work done on time.

    Hiring you in the first place requires confidence in your abilities. However, if you expect to advance in your career, you need to establish a deeper trust with your employer.

    Individuals promoted to management roles or given more responsibility in general need to be trusted in successfully handling these tasks. Unless you can build a relationship of trust with an employer, it’s unlikely they’ll see you as a good employee.

    Examples of trustworthiness characteristics include:

    • Being honest about your work

    • Being moral and ethical in everyday business activity

    • You don’t gossip and your coworkers can come to you when they need

    • You are reliable in the workplace

  10. Having a plan. An essential trait of a good employee is creating a plan for success rather than waiting for it to happen. Having a plan for both the most minuscule and monumental goals is essential to accomplishing your objectives.

    Whether it be figuring out the best way to tackle an issue or how you plan to get a promotion in the next five years, a well-thought-out plan is crucial to accomplishing your goals and being a great employee.

  11. Adaptability. If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that we never know what’s going to happen in our lives, jobs, and the world. Being adaptable to strenuous, or even life-altering, situations at work can make you a better employee. Adaptability means creating solutions to problems and moving forward in the face of change.

    It may be difficult to adapt to change, but good employees can work around the difficulties that life presents them with.

  12. Punctuality. Unless you have a flexible schedule agreement, being on time to work is one of the simplest ways to show respect to your employer. While accidents happen and sometimes being late is out of your control, that should be a rare occasion. Being on time for work every day is one of the easiest and best ways to show your employer you mean business.

  13. Contributing ideas. A good employee whose going to succeed in their career brings ideas to the table for consideration. It can be easy to get complacent at work and just do the things you’ve been asked to as part of your job responsibilities. Contributing ideas can improve the company you work for and help you stand out for your forethought.

    Take the opportunity to speak up at meetings or schedule time to discuss your thoughts with your supervisor when you have a good idea. Even if they disagree or say no, you’re demonstrating initiative and showing you care about innovating the workplace.

  14. Take in feedback. Receiving your supervisor’s feedback can be one of the most useful tools you have to become a better employee. Constructive feedback is meant to educate you on what parts of your job you’re excelling in and where you could use more work. This provides clear goals for improving your work performance to become the best employee possible.

    Take in feedback from professional mentors carefully and adjust your work habits accordingly. Feedback is given to help you succeed.

  15. Step up and solve problems. Being a problem-solver is one of the most useful skills that an employee can exhibit. It demonstrates leadership qualities and a willingness to take on a challenge. Employees who raise their hand to volunteer in coordinating a difficult circumstance reflect professionalism and critical thinking in their performance.

    While initiating yourself to handle challenges in the workplace can be intimidating, it improves your skills and makes you stand out as a reliable employee.

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Sky Ariella

Sky Ariella is a professional freelance writer, originally from New York. She has been featured on websites and online magazines covering topics in career, travel, and lifestyle. She received her BA in psychology from Hunter College.

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