Being A Top Employee: 1

Kevin Kraft
Did the title get your attention? Let me correct myself by saying this: there is no such thing as an employee; you will always be the boss. This article is for all those who work for somebody else or those who are looking for some ideas on how to motivate themselves and others. Many of the topics discussed in this article come from my personal leadership philosophy, and throughout this article I use the words "employee" and "boss," even though I really dislike these two terms. I am convinced that they are anti-team terms and are often used to hide behind. Those types of terms should be used by the HR or legal department, but not on the floor where things get done. Yes, there are those who make the decisions, but at the end of the day only you can control your own success.

The "Can-Do" Attitude
The right attitude can catapult you ahead of the pack, while a bad attitude can be fatal to your success. A positive attitude will get you much further than any technical qualifications. Qualification may get you a job, but without a mature attitude you will always be unhappy, and most likely you will not last very long in your job.

Having an award-winning attitude is by no means easy; it is not something you are born with and much harder to learn than anything else. The "can-do" attitude as the name implies, is about never giving up, tackling tasks no matter what they are or how difficult they appear to be. It is also about having a smile on your face from when you get in the office until you go home. Cultivating this type of attitude can be extremely difficult. Here is a little trick: Place items around your work environment so that you are reminded of your attitude. For example, put a little sticker on your notebook or put a small rock on your desk. Don't let anybody know about these little reminders; they don't need to know about them. Every time you see a reminder, remember the "can-do" attitude to be a team player, to communicate well, or anything else you set out as one of your goals.

Attitudes can be contagious, so make them work for you and those around you.

Don't Be Shy
All problems need to be addressed and dealt with, no matter how big they are. It is critical however that whoever addresses the problem is careful when doing so. There are two ways of going about it. One is, to blame somebody for something. The other is, to get to a solution. Which one do you think is the better, more productive method?

When dealing with other people, much depends on how you talk with them. For example, instead of saying "Alfred, your tea doesn't taste good today," you could say "Alfred, have you noticed that the tea tastes different today?" The same goes for recommendations, comments, and input. Contribution is always good; just remember to be a team player.

Voicing concerns over a topic is not complaining. Complaining is when a subject is talked about over and over again without the attempt to find a solution to it. If you approach somebody with a problem, always have at least one solution ready; of course, the more the better.

There will always be anti-team players, who think that hiding information is good. Sharing information will get them and those around them much further, though. Those individuals only survive in organizations that don't value and cultivate teamwork. Unfortunately showing them "the light" is nearly impossible; usually they need to learn the hard way.

Something didn't work out as planned and you screwed up on something? Oh-oh... Hang on, here comes the good news: It happens to the best of us. It is important to communicate the mishap, to know the reason why it didn't work out and be ready to explain it. Identify the problem, write it down, and try to avoid it in the future. If you see that you will not be able to meet a deadline, inform whoever needs to be informed ahead of time.

In part two we'll look at communication, building yourself, goal setting and more.

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