Are You An Exemplary Employee?

Unless you were born with a platinum tiara you’ve probably had a job in your life and rely on it every day.  Somebody needs to work to support our families.  Truth be told if no one worked then all of society would fail.  Many people don’t like to work but the sooner you can face reality the better you’ll be.  Whether you’re comfortable in your current position or you want to advance it’s your responsibility to be an exemplary employee to give yourself the best chance of staying employed.

Chances are you have ambitious career goals whether it’s for more money, status, power, or social impact.  No matter the reason it’s important to keep in mind that being the best current employee gives you the best opportunity in the future.  You may hate your job, boss, or company but the reality is you need to swallow your pride and be an amazing employee not just for your employer but for your own personal goals.  The most important factor in getting another job is the circumstances of your previous employment including your responsibilities, reputation, and rehire ability.

This article is your guide to being the exemplary employee that your employer wants to keep around, promote, and assist even after employment.  You probably are a good employee, but if you ever want to become a great employee you have to strive for improvement.  What’s missing from your employment toolkit?

Can you be relied upon?

Every employee needs to be reliable because if you fail to do what you say you’re going to do it affects the entire company.  Your employer needs you to perform for a reason or else they wouldn’t have hired you.  Being reliable is about truthfully communicating what you can do and following through on what you say you’re going to do.  This article written by Lee Colan does a great job of breaking down the essence of reliability and 8 Ways to Become the Most Reliable Person in the Room.

Do you have a positive attitude?

No one wants to work with someone who is emotionally draining.  We all have bad days but we don’t have to let those bad days define us.  The more you act on your negative attitude the worse you become and the harder it is to work with you.  When you’re positive your organization enjoys coming in to work with you and the company is more productive.  If you realize that you are the negative attitude of the office I suggest you check out this article on 10 Tips for a Positive Attitude at Work written by Allison Boyer.

Do you have grit?

The single most important trait in all successful people is grit.  Simply put it is the ability to adapt and overcome obstacles to accomplish your goals no matter the circumstances.  The workplace is full of setbacks, restrictions, and challenges but that doesn’t mean you can give up and let someone else do the work for you.  Being able to adapt to difficult situations with often unknown circumstances is a powerful skill.  Believe it or not, you can learn how to exercise more grit in your life.

Are you proactive?

Being able to know the future is incredibly hard but being prepared and proactive isn’t.  You don’t have to know the future exactly but you can be prepared for what will most likely be needed.  When you take the initiative you make things run smoother and ahead of schedule.  Solving issues before they cause major problems is extremely valuable in the workforce.  This article written by Anne Marie Cooley of does a great job of providing 10 Ways Employees Can Be More Proactive At Work.

Are you well rested?

Quality sleep is not only essential for being an exemplary employee it is an essential component of everyday life.  Many people take it for granted but being well rested is a very important factor in your productivity and reliability at work.  Whether you work sluggishly, you make mistakes, or you fall asleep at your desk getting the quality sleep you need is a vert important factor in your performance at work.  I’ve written a detailed article on the science behind sleep that explains why we need it, tips for better sleep, and how to address common sleep problems.

Are you busy or productive?

There are stark differences in busy people and productive people.  Many employees hold the philosophy that looking busy is what their bosses want to see because it makes them think you’re working hard.  Appearing busy is superficial and often makes you look scattered and unorganized.  Having successful results is what employers are looking for not just an employee making himself look useful.  There is a fundamental difference in these two types of people and this article written by Conor Neill of identifies 11 Differences Between Busy People And Productive People.  Next time you want to complain or brag about how busy you are, think about how you can focus on a few important achievements and figure out the most efficient way to get exemplary results.

Do you have integrity?

We are all human and we all sometimes falter in our ability to do the right thing, but in the workplace, it is more important than ever.  Your actions affect the entire company as well as the impact your company has on society.  It’s important, to be honest, trustworthy, and respectful for yourself and the greater good.  Cultivating integrity means being true to your values and acting in accordance with what you know is right.  Integrating integrity is a lifelong pursuit that positive people strive for every day.  This article from is a great place to start preserving integrity.

Do you lead?

Many people think that only the designated manager can be the leader but they couldn’t be further from the truth.  Companies need everyone to be a leader in their own right.  Sure the manager is the one put in charge but they still need the entire team to use their own strengths to help lead the team to success.  If you are unsure how you can be a leader or what a leader actually is I suggest checking out this article about Leadership.

Do you communicate effectively?

An important component of any organization is the communication between its elements.  Good communication ensures that things run smoothly and problems are known before they can cause real damage.  Communication skills are the building blocks of any relationship and everyone can improve their ability to communicate.   This article does a fantastic job of outlining the facts of effective communication.

Are you creative?

In case, you don’t realize it creativity isn’t only for the artist we all use it every day and it is more important in the workplace than anywhere else.  The benefit extends far beyond pretty reports and colorful PowerPoint presentations.  Creative thinking can draw new connections in the workplace by generating new business models, advertising plans, or process improvements.  Also, no matter how good your company is it is going to have problems and creative problem solving is the only way to overcome them.  We are all creative sometimes we just need to realize it and let it blossom.  I highly recommend checking out this article I wrote about letting creativity flourish.

Do you continue learning?

Continuous learning is the most important pursuit of this list.  It doesn’t matter what occupation you have learning is paramount.  By learning more about the work you’re currently doing you can find ways to make it easier, quicker, or more cost effective.  By staying up to date with the current news and innovations of your industry, you can anticipate changes and capitalize on new developments.  By learning more aspects of your company, you make yourself more valuable and better able to see the big picture.  By learning things unrelated to your job you make yourself smarter, therefore, more valuable to the company overall.  The possibilities are endless.  If you don’t think you can learn I suggest you read this article or if you want to become a better at learning or memorization I suggest you check out these articles.  Subscribe to this website and you will definitely learn.

Overall the underlying theme of becoming an exemplary employee is striving for excellence.  This article certainly doesn’t cover all of the traits.  If you have more characteristics to list I would love to hear from them in the comments.

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One thought on “Are You An Exemplary Employee?

  • June 26, 2016 at 5:28 am

    Great article, thanks! This serves as a reminder and also a checklist for me to keep examining myself on what I bring to the table to contribute to my company and team, and also to better myself so that I can be the best I can be. It is so important to first of all be an exemplary employee before expecting others to be.


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