While it can be difficult to define the characteristics of a good employee, it is easy to describe the benefits.
For example, a good employee receives salary increases, promotions, and praise from managers. She is often a role model for her colleagues, is chosen for unique projects, and makes all the work look easy.
But what does it mean to be a good employee? And what skills can you work on to ensure that you are considered a good – or even a great – employee in your own company?
Here, I’ve spoken with HubSpot employees and managers to identify the soft skills required to be a good employee in any role, to ensure that you deserve some of the benefits discussed earlier. Let’s dive in.
1. A growth-oriented mindset and willingness to learn.
One of the greatest strengths of every good employee is willingness to learn and growth thinking.
A growth mindset, a term first coined by Stanford University psychologist Carol S. Dweck, means that you believe you can develop and hone skills and get better at something over time. A fixed mindset, on the other hand, means that you feel that your intelligence and abilities are inherent and immutable.
In the workplace, a marketer with a growth mindset may choose to take a few analytics classes to develop data-related skills, even if her background is more creative. Alternatively, a marketer with a solid mindset would avoid these courses and claim, “I’ve never been good at math. I just can’t do that.”
A growth mindset can affect an employee’s motivation and work ethic, and how well they respond to constructive feedback. As Dweck writes: “The passion to stretch yourself and hold on to it, even (or especially) when things are not going well, is the hallmark of the growth mentality. This is the mindset that enables people to thrive in some of the toughest times “in their lives.”
Ultimately, a good employee is someone who likes to try new things, acquire new skills and grow.
Anna Fitzgerald, Marketing Manager, Website Blog at HubSpot, says, “A good employee is someone who sees opportunities where it would make sense for your manager to delegate a task or project to you. It’s a win, a win. You take something off your manager’s plate, and the new responsibility helps you grow and develop new skills. ”
2. A positive and solution-oriented attitude.
Employees enjoy working with people who are positive and solution-oriented when faced with challenges.
It can be stressful working with someone focusing on the negatives or demotivating the rest of the team. For example, at a previous company I worked with someone who did not feel fulfilled in their role. As a result, he often voiced his criticism of the company to the rest of our team – which wasn’t a huge motivation for anyone.
A positive attitude can inspire your coworkers to work harder and lift the spirits of your team when faced with a frustrating obstacle. In addition, happiness is associated with greater success. In fact, one study found that satisfied employees are up to 20% more productive than dissatisfied employees, and happy salespeople generate 37% more sales than their dissatisfied colleagues.
A positive attitude will also help you move into a solution-oriented attitude more quickly. For example, negativity can make you feel frustrated when a roadblock pops up. You could resort to self-blame, criticism, or simply a lack of motivation to change your strategy.
However, having a positive attitude can help you remain confident, calm, and level-headed when a challenge arises. Positivity can help you redefine the problem in your head. So you can say, “This challenge is actually an opportunity for us to rethink our strategy and thereby find a better solution.”
Everyone can have bad days, of course, but the mark of a good employee is someone who doesn’t let their bad mood prevent them from solving problems or building a strong team morale.
3. Empathy and emotional intelligence.
HubSpot Marketing Manager Kristen Baker told me that she believed empathy is a key quality to being a good employee.
She says: “A good employee shows empathy in dealing with colleagues and customers. In addition, a good employee shows that the effect of his work on his fellow human beings is important to him.”
Baker adds, “Empathy can help you put yourself in the shoes of your customers, which can increase motivation and determination. When I better understand our customers’ challenges, I see how much my own role can help meet those needs and that motivates me to work harder. “
In addition, emotional intelligence is an important skill for employees and managers to improve. The ability to regulate your own emotions – as well as the emotions of others – has proven invaluable in the workplace.
To increase your emotional intelligence, try taking an EI quiz to see how emotionally intelligent you are, then identify areas where there is room for improvement. (HubSpot even offers one!)
To practice empathy in the workplace, ask coworkers how they are doing and practice active listening to build a relationship over time. For example, if a coworker mentions they are celebrating their birthday this weekend, make sure to follow up and ask how it went.
Also, take the time to understand how your product or service is meeting your customers’ needs. Put yourself in their shoes. Listen to customer interviews or read survey responses to better understand your customers’ challenges, which of course will make you feel more empathic for your customers.
Taking responsibility simply means taking responsibility for your actions, and this is an incredibly important skill in the workplace.
People screw up every day – it comes down to how you deal with your mistakes. Go straight to your boss, outline the problem at hand, and explain how you may have caused or contributed to the problem.
Showing that you’re not afraid to admit mistakes is a sign of a good (and honest) employee. It won’t help anyone if you try to hide problems or point your fingers.
Additionally, it is impressive when you take the time to reflect on yourself and think about how you can change your approach to meet your goals next time.
For example, if you are responsible for posting 12 posts per month and only completed 10, it is time to find out what was preventing you from achieving your goal.
Then when you speak to your manager, you can say something like, “I struggled with the last two pieces because I didn’t take into account exactly how long each piece would take, especially the pieces that require external quotations I have thought about it, I realized that I have to write three articles a week and give myself a few more days to get in touch and collect quotes before I start writing my quotes. “
5. Critical, comprehensive thinking.
A good employee takes the time to pause in their everyday life and assess overarching goals, always making sure that their work is aligned with the company’s goals and has a positive effect on the company’s results.
Even if you’ve just started at a new company, it’s never too early to ask questions and get interested in the bigger company. Overall strategic thinking is a sign of a good employee, and your boss will notice when you take the time to critically examine the problems or tasks at hand and how they fit into your company’s overall strategy.
Charlene Strain, HubSpot Associate Marketing Manager for Global Co-Marketing Acquisition & Partnerships, considers ambition an essential quality for any good employee.
Ambition may look different for everyone, but in this case we’re talking about ambition in terms of scalability.
As Strain notes, “To be a good (and even great) employee, you need to be scalable in every aspect of your role. Find ways to make a process smoother or to implement processes where there is none. “
Strain adds, “As you move or move to a different role, think about whether someone else could easily carry out your day-to-day duties and expand the role and program. If not, think about how you can reduce this friction. “
A good employee thinks about how she can make her role for the company more efficient overall. She’s also considering how she could create new processes to facilitate the outcomes of her entire team.
For example, I’ve seen colleagues clean up outdated filing systems and create new, streamlined Google Drive folders for easy access to important information. I’ve also seen coworkers redesigning their own daily tasks to be more efficient, which was then used on a large scale to revise how HubSpot writers create content.
In a new role, take the time to consider inefficiencies or small details that can cause problems as you scale. These problems could turn into opportunities for growth.
7. Good communication skills.
After all, a good employee is clear and direct with colleagues. She practices good communication skills – including active listening, setting clear expectations, asking questions, and being interested in what the other person is saying.
We have all worked with colleagues who don’t seem to be listening when we speak or who don’t follow up on something they said they would. This is frustrating and can reduce confidence. A good employee practices strong communication skills every day – both in person and online.
A good employee can also articulate when she can take on additional projects and when not. This is part of a clear expectation.
As Jen Stefancik, Team Manager of Channel Promotions at HubSpot, tells me, “You can say ‘no’ and still be helpful. For example, you shouldn’t do work that you can’t or shouldn’t prioritize, but you can still go the extra mile , the person seeking help, suggesting other avenues, resources, or advice. “
It’s important to know that it takes time to become a good employee and there will be setbacks.
Clint Fontanella, manager of the HubSpot blog team, says, “Most people want to move forward quickly. They want to make more money, get a better job, or get a better promotion, and they are starting to measure themselves by it instead of measuring themselves on a day-to-day basis. You will have bad days. There are people who get promoted before you. Your friend could get a new job and make more money. “
“All you can do is focus on yourself and be as consistent as possible – both in your work and in your attitude – and good things will happen.”