September 26, 2017

Your Tuesday Top 5: How to be a better employee

Posted by AGU Career Center

Most of us know what we want in a boss—including attributes, skills, experience, values, and management style—but have you ever thought about what your boss wants in an employee?

In general, we know what behaviors will prevent our boss from being upset with us: be on time, do the job to the best of your ability and, of course, don’t make waves or cause trouble.  There is a difference between avoiding things that will make your boss unhappy and doing things that will actively make your boss happy.

Regardless of where we work, what our roles are or how many years we’ve been in the work force, there are several fundamental qualities that, if practiced, will help set us up for successful, collaborative interactions and a rewarding workplace environment.

Here are your Tuesday Top 5 tips for how to become a better employee: 

  1. Be a team player. 

Think about your favorite sport. Whether you are the one carrying, shooting, tossing, hitting or dribbling the ball, the game is about more than you. It’s like that at work. We all have a niche, a skill or expertise that we offer, but we’re just one piece of a much bigger puzzle. We all have a part to play, a place on the team. And, we’ve all heard it – “There’s no ‘I’ in T-E-A-M.” Be dependable, listen, share and help. Let the team know you’re there and “in it to win it.” 

  1. Be flexible and welcome change.

It is said that change is the only constant.  Whether change comes from the inside or the outside, no work environment stays the same for long. To be successful, neither can we. Priorities shift. Advanced, more efficient tools become available. We must all flex, pivot and shift as often and as much as needed to do our jobs. We must be willing to work outside our normal routine and, often, our comfort zone. It’s expected of us. Keep a positive attitude, keep it light, laugh and find a way to enjoy the ride.  

  1. Be willing to help your coworkers and be willing to let your coworkers help you

If asked to pitch in, do it when your workload allows. More, recognize when a colleague needs help, and shift your work when possible to assist. This makes you a team player, and, when the roles are reversed, your colleagues will be more willing to help you. 

  1. Be everything you want your boss to be

Have you heard the phrase “Be the change you want to see in the world.” If you expect a boss to behave in a particular way, you need to reflect those same values and behaviors yourself.  When you emulate the behaviors that you value, your boss will likely follow suit.  And even if they don’t, it’s good practice for the day that you become the boss.

  1. Remember why you do what you do

You got your job for a reason: Because you were the best qualified person to do it. Be proud of the role you play. Do your job and act in a way that you not only complete your work but in doing so earn respect and increase your value by continuously building your skills and knowledge, all while helping yourself and your organization succeed. 

Patricia Yaya is the Vice President of Human Resources and Administrative Services at the American Geophysical Union.  Additional AGU Staff contributed to this blog.