How To Be an Excellent Employee

Among other things, I have led a Business Intelligence team.  Recently, one of my colleagues asked for guidance on how to be an excellent employee.  None of this is rocket science or profound in any way but the question gave me pause and I thought I would share my response.

I think there are six behaviors that help someone achieve recognition as an excellent employee.  They are:

  1. No surprises. It’s a lesson many of us learn the hard way.  But it’s really simple.  If there is a problem, let your manager know before someone else tells her/him.  It’s even better if you have a solution but more on that in a moment.
  2. Abandon any “9:00- 5:00” mentality. Excellent employees do the job – irrespective of how many hours it takes.  Some days the work gets done in fewer than the traditional 8 hour day (Does anyone just work 8 hours/day any more?).  It will take longer other times.  I reward results and not how many hours someone works.
  3. Anticipate the 2nd and 3rd order effects of a decision. If you can’t do that alone, engage someone to help you think it through.  You’ll get a better solution.
  4. Be solution-oriented. It’s OK to come to your manager with a problem.  It’s great if you also come with an idea to solve the problem.
  5. Ask for help. It can be hard to ask for help.  But if we, as leaders,  create an environment where it is OK to say “I need help” then we all benefit.
  6. Be a lifetime learner. I think this is more true than ever in our new Corona reality.  The world will be different.  This is a terrific time to be thinking about what this new world will mean for your career and the capabilities you will need to thrive.

What do you think?  What behaviors am I overlooking?

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    Great share Ken. I think if someone can follow above and get proper guidance can become successful. And I firmly…


  1. Avatar Sagar Vij on July 30, 2020 at 9:32 AM

    Great share Ken. I think if someone can follow above and get proper guidance can become successful.
    And I firmly believe that if a manager can give a healthy environment (motivation, flexibility, freedom to think and implement are factors), people will outperform. But there are outliers, managers who think controlling and getting forceful respect. This spoils things.

    I have grown under a great leader and I am glad that many other will get this opportunity too.

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