Mormon Channel Blog

    Self Reliance: Traits of a Great Employee

    March 20, 2015

    What makes the difference between a good employee and a great employee?

    We all know the general tips: be on time, do your work, be nice to your co-workers, be a team player. But how do you set yourself apart so that you will be noticed for promotions and raises?

    Russ Harrington, associate manager of the Riverton LDS Employment Resource Center and professional career advisor, provides some insights.

    1.Ask questions

    “The purpose of questions is to better understand how you can accomplish the work that the company needs to be done,” says Harrington.

    In order to meet expectations, you need to know what those expectations are. Questions are a great way to learn about the broad vision of your organization as well as how your supervisor expects you to do a project.

    “Ask questions and then listen. Listen really intently,” advises Harrington. This is how you will learn and increase your ability to perform on the job.

    2.Develop a good reputation

    Your reputation includes a lot of different elements. Are you friendly with your co-workers? Do you follow company protocol? Are you dependable? Do you have a positive attitude?

    Ultimately, your reputation determines if people want to work with you. And it is a vital part of your success because “people work with and promote individuals that they like,” Harrington comments.

    Volunteer or take initiative on projects. Be out there. Ask for additional assignments and opportunities.

    3.Creatively solve problems

    Once you understand exactly what you’re supposed to be doing, then you can use that as a springboard to refine the process and exceed expectations. Look for challenges that your team is facing, and then use your knowledge and creativity to present solutions.

    The more people can look to you as a solution to their needs, the more your reputation as a problem solver is going to grow.

    4.Seek out a mentor

    Identify someone you perceive to be influential either in the organization or just to you, and then ask him or her for a brief meeting.

    You don’t need to formally say, “Will you be my mentor?” Instead, a possible approach could be: “I’ve really appreciated getting to know you. I was wondering if you would spend 30 minutes over lunch so I can pick your brain about …”

    Then ask questions and listen. Ask for permission to reach out regularly for follow-up visits.

    5.Become a master of your craft

    The more you master your job, the more you’ll develop a passion for your work. Read books and enroll in classes that connect to your field. Take advantage of training programs that your company offers. Your ability to become the best at certain tasks will increase your supervisor’s confidence that you can do the same in whatever role or responsibility he or she gives you.

    “A good employee shows up to work, meets minimum expectations, and receives a paycheck. A great employee creatively achieves results with passion and makes a difference,” Harrington teaches. As you apply these principles in your professional development, you will increase your quality as an employee.

    To talk to someone like Russ at your nearest employment center, or to read similar career tips, visit