What boss doesn’t want a perfect employee? You might be saying to yourself that you can never achieve perfection. Well, you’re wrong you can and you will by the end of this piece. Achieving the perfect employee status is not an overnight affair. It’s a combination of small things over a period of time. You need to remember that the main reason your employer hired you in the first place is to make things easier for them, solve their problems. If they could do it by themselves, you wouldn’t be there.
Think of it as a business and you as an asset, if you are an asset that’s not making any profit and still racking up maintenance costs, would you keep you around? So if he’s paying you and you’re not contributing anything then you are more of a liability than an asset, call it an extra expense. You do not want to be replaceable. So to help you out with that, here are a few tips on how to direct the spotlight in your directions.
Go the extra mile.
This might mean doing extra work, coming in an hour earlier or putting in an extra hour after work and the likes. It doesn’t mean that you have to do this every day, it could be a few days a week or when there’s some really heavy workload. And coming in doesn’t translate to you coming in earlier or staying later but getting nothing done, just sitting there surfing the web and doing your own things. That will only serve to waste your time and energy, and by extension the company’s.
Going the extra mile might also be you being proactive, take initiative. When you think of an idea that might solve a problem or improve an area at work, do some research and present it to the boss. This is unsolicited advice so you need to prepare well and be informed so that you don’t waste the boss’ time. It might not be the best at times but if it’s good and your employer sees your point he/she might just take you up on it. You might even get to steer the project since it was your idea.
Take one for the team.
Sometimes at work we need to get our hands dirty, for the lack of a better word. There are those tasks outside our daily routines that need someone to handle and which nobody wants to do. You could be a sport once in a while and offer to do it instead of having the usual, I did it last time, it’s your turn, conversation with the team. Believe me it’s noticed, the boss might not say anything but they will have taken note. It could be that on a certain holiday/weekend there is something that needs to be done so they need someone to come to the office for a few hours. Grab the chance.
Looks speak volumes, you might not say a word but how you dress says a lot about yourself. It might say you are meticulous and pay attention to detail, or that you don’t care. Keeping up with fashion or simply looking sharp might suggest you are well informed and pay attention to detail. It gives the impression that you are well up to date with the industry trends. Now, don’t get me wrong this doesn’t mean you go all out and spend on designer clothes, but if you can afford it hey, just ensure you keep it professional and presentable. It might be a subtle indicator but it’s an important one.
The crowd is not always right
Sometimes being the ugly duckling is actually a good thing. So the team has formed a bad habit that has been inculcated in the company’s culture, it doesn’t mean you have to follow the crowd. Learn to stand your ground. If you feel like it’s not right then you don’t have to go along with it. The boss will appreciate your self-will.
Establish your expertise.
Find one thing that you are good at and work on that. You know that one thing that when people want to get done there’s no question about who will do it? No one even has to say it, it’s just a known fact. In as much as multi-talented people are praised the old saying as cliché as it is it’s still true, the one that talks about being a jack of all trades but a master of none. Granted a few have been able to master and do excel in various fields but if you can’t hack it, don’t force it.
Above I mentioned picking a field and being good at it, don’t mistake the point to mean that you have to be rigid. Once in a while you might need to step out of your comfort zone/job description and do something else. Go at it with an open mind, you might find that you like, and are actually good at the new task.
Here’s where I explain how you become perfect. Now when I said perfect employee I didn’t mean it in the sense that you do not error, but I mean in the sense that you are so good that even when you error those mistakes are easily overlooked, hence the perfection. In your effort to achieve the above you will have magnified your bright spots and thrown shade on your weak ones. Try it.
Trust is a key ingredient in the success of a company and many a times companies that lack trust between its employees and management often do not succeed. Why is that? Well, first of all for it to function, teamwork is needed. What happens when there is no trust between teams looking to work together? Everybody will be on the lookout for themselves meaning that their focus will be dived and directed towards their welfare and nothing else. Everybody has different goals so if everyone is focused on their personal goals they will be working towards different end goals. That being said a company cannot succeed when its employees are not working towards the same goal. How will you coordinate tasks? So are you wondering how to get your employees to trust you? Here are a few key tips that will guide you towards achieving that.
Tone down on the scolding a notch.
As a boss once in a while you will find yourself reprimanding your employees when they error in their ways but try not to overdo it. This is because overdoing it will in the end result in them either disliking you or affecting their self worth. They will tend to feel like they are not good enough or that they can’t live up to your expectations apart from making them defensive. They will eventually give up trying. Disliking you will be due to the fact that they think you never see the good in them. So to be fair scold and give credit where it’s due in the same measure. When they error have a sit down with them and find out why they made the mistake in the first place instead of going straight for their head.
Approach the problem from a different angle, from an angle of concern and wanting to help. Once you identify why the mistake happened help them rectify it and actually let them do it over. This shows that you have faith in them and trust them to get it right. Once that is done be sure to let them know that they got it right next time they do it correctly. This is a sure way of giving their confidence a boost. For some it might take a while to correct their mistakes, be patient. However also learn to recognize your employees’ strengths and weaknesses. If they cannot do it , try their talents on other things.
It is entirely possible that you are trusting the wrong employee with the wrong task. Also avoid throwing blame around. Sometimes while in the process of holding a member of your staff accountable for one thing can turn into you blaming them for something larger. For example blaming the failure of an entire project on an employee’s mistake.
Do more listening than talking.
Listening to your employees can tell you a lot of things you might otherwise have missed. And when talking about listening I’m not only referring to you listening to the actual words but also the subtle non-verbal communication. This could be their body language, their tone of voice, their facial expressions and so on. When you master the ability to listen and read your employees you will be more understanding, meaning you will be able to value their feelings more. This will open doors to open and honest communication. Granted you will be able to communicate more effectively with your team.
Personal opinions tend to cloud judgment so put aside your pre-formed opinions as you are communicating with them and try to look at things from both your end as well as theirs. The best approach to such an issue is trying to answer the question what and why. What happened and why. If you approach a situation looking to find out what happened and why, you will be more inclined to listen because you want to find out something. You are not looking to blame anyone or reprimand so as you will be listening, you will not be busy coming up with how you are going to scold them.
Avoid interrupting them as they are trying to make a point as it makes them feel like you are not interested in what they have to say. Make sure they know that you are always willing to listen. You might be surprised how open they will be with you. And don’t be mistaken listening does not always mean that you are in agreement. It only means that you are willing to get all the facts in order for you to be in a position to make an informed decision.
Delegation of duties is vital if you want to win the trust of your employees. It communicates the message that you have faith in their ability. Bosses who always do things by themselves indirectly say to their employees that they don’t have faith in their abilities. Giving your employees responsibilities not only shows you believe in them but provides an opportunity for them to advance their skills. They might not be good from the get go but you have to recognize that growth is achieved in stages. They first of all learn the skill, practice it and then polish it. The reason that you are there is to guide them through this process. However don’t mistake micromanagement for guidance. Hovering over them and fussing over every little detail and task that they do will not do any good. You might as well have done it yourself.
Give them room to take charge with your supervision of course, empower them and once in a while let them learn through their mistakes. Set up incentives for them to perform well. This will make them want to improve on their performance next time. Remember positive reinforcement works much better than criticism and blame. Focus on what they are able to do rather than what they are not. For the areas that need work on, lend a helping hand. For example you can ask, “You are very meticulous but what can I do to help you finish your projects on time?” Rather than, “You can never finish anything on time.” The first approach compliments and points out an area that needs work at the same time. On the other hand the second approach just points out the weakness.
What the first approach will do is it will encourage the employee to continue with the good work and make them open to asking for help where it’s needed. The second option will only serve to make them defensive. All they will be doing so trying to come up with reasons as to why they did not perform in an attempt to defend themselves. You will be surprised at what a little pat on the back and encouragement can do. Sometimes it’s all your employee needs to unleash the great potential in them.
You have to realize that they listen and see what you do. Your staff notices everything that goes on in the office. Even that quiet one that rarely talks and almost never leaves their cubicle. The same way they notice things is the same way they remember almost everything. You should therefore maintain consistency, be it the message that you are giving them or the way that you act. Do you act nice towards them when the company performs and suddenly get mean when it doesn’t? Are you polite to them when you are having a good day and turn mean when you are having a bad one? Do you come into work early when you are feeling like it and late or don’t come in at all when you don’t feel like it? They may not let you know but they notice these things. You are communicating one thing today and another tomorrow. Soon enough they will start to mirror your behavior.
Live up to your word.
When you promise your employees things make sure to deliver on them. Even when the situation changes try to keep to your word otherwise who will trust someone who fails to keep their promises? Make a commitment and follow up on it so that even when it seems impossible during hard times they will not have a problem trusting you to come through for them.
Everyone makes mistakes and bosses are not immune to this. When you make a mistake instead of thinking about how they will see you as a failure own up to the mistake. Show them that you are no different and that it’s okay to make mistakes as long as you learn from them. Trying to look perfect in the eyes of your employees does not work. A day will come when you will not be able to cover your mistake and they will see right through the lie. They will see you as a fake, instead you want them to relate to you, see that you are no different and that at some point you were right where they were. So acknowledge it when you go wrong, they will respect you more.
Lead by example.
Ever heard of that saying, the best leaders don’t tell you how it’s done, they show you how it’s done? Well, it’s true. You want your staff to do something start by doing it yourself. If it’s time keeping, make sure you come in early. What would employees think of a boss that talks of timekeeping but comes into work at 11 a.m.? Live what you preach they will follow suit.
Get to know your staff.
Learn about your employees either by watching them or better yet by having a face to face with them. Learn where they live, what they like and even the names of one or two of their family members. This reflects as concern to your employees, they will feel that you care about them, about their welfare and that you are not all about having them make money for you. Knowing them will even enable you to notice when something’s wrong with one of them. Maybe someone is having personal problems that are now affecting their work performance. Catching that before it spirals out of control will go a long way to help both you and your employee.
Act on employee feedback.
After cultivating trust between you and your team it is very likely that they will be open to communication, this means feedback. Feedback could be positive feedback or criticism and you need to find a way to act on it. If they give a suggestion about wanting something improved that will make their productivity improve find a way of implementing that. Just be aware that it doesn’t mean that you have to implement all their suggestions. If they ask for something that you cannot give, have a sit down with them and explain why it cannot be so then propose an alternative.
The most important thing to note here is that creating trust between you and your employees will not only make them more productive but also help towards retaining employees. There is nothing worse than spending resources on training employees only for them to take that training elsewhere. With trust, communication both upstream and downstream will definitely improve and so will productivity. Your employees will be more willing to share their thoughts with you including new ideas and potential threats facing the company. You want to make them respect and trust you not fear you.