Posted on: Friday, August 31st, 2012
The organizations of today’s market are looking to be as efficient in their operations as they can. That sounds like a pleasant way of saying “saving money”, but the reality is that working towards business efficiencies in every aspect of the operation is a necessary leadership step in keeping an organization healthy through the difficult times.
Ask the experts and they’ll tell you that the biggest impact in efficiency comes through the productivity of the employees. The company whose employees perform at the highest level will find the best chances of success. Employees who perform at the highest level will find the greatest income, the greatest job security, and the greatest chance of advancement within an organization.
With many years of experience in managing people, I have found five distinct actions of the model employee. Note I didn’t say “attitudes”, “characteristics” or “personality traits”. These are actions – clear and specific steps you can take each and every day. Follow them carefully and you’ll increase the effectiveness of your organization. It won’t hurt your career one bit.
1) Exceed Expectations – Every Single Day. Model employees have a specific purpose to outperform, to rise above the minimum expectations of the job. Mediocre employees ask, “What is the least I can do without getting in trouble?” Top performs ask, “What specifically can I do today to exceed expectations?” This mindset, when turned to action, will guide you in doing extraordinary things on a daily basis for your company, for your customers, for your coworkers and for yourself. But it must be specific. Every day you must start with an action plan of what you will do above and beyond the call of duty.
2) Arrive Early; Stay Late. When you get to work at the exact start time and leave at the exact ending time you send a message to your leadership that you really don’t want to be at work any longer than you have to. Moreover, you live this part of your life with no margin, cutting the time too close and risking disciplinary action. It doesn’t have to be a long time before and after the assigned hours, but padding the time just a little bit sends a message that you are fully devoted to getting the job done right. One more thing on this topic – I’ve been in leadership for a long time, and somehow I always know when someone struggles in this area. You may think the boss is blind to your arrival and departure times, but the boss somehow always knows.
3) Be a Good Businessperson. You greatly increase your value to the organization when you understand the business of your company. Read industry articles, search for information on industry websites, and develop an inquisitive mind in queries to your co-workers. Learn everything you can about your organization and apply what you learn to improve your own performance. This increases your value on a number of levels.
4) Get Into Self-Training. Too many employees rely on their company to provide any and all training and skill development. Top performers seek out their own growth opportunities and take ownership of their own development. In fact, the greatest growth of your career will always be self-directed, if you allow that to be so. When you set your own developmental agenda you are more likely to utilize what you learn because you have more personal buy-in. You direct the learning, so you are more likely to also find the application to your work. Make it a priority to develop a new skill or to learn something that will improve your performance, and do that every single day.
5) Adopt the Boss’ Vision. Finally, find out what is important to the leadership of your company, and order your own activities to compliment that vision. In the broad sense, your very job is to make your boss look good. And that is never a bad way to go about your daily tasks. If you don’t connect with the vision of the company there is little chance that you will ever perform even to the minimum standards.
So now it’s up to you. Are you a mediocre employee, or are you an invaluable team member? The choice is up to you, and you choose with your actions – every single day.