9 Qualities of a Good Employee (With Definition and Examples)

Updated 21 July 2022

A good employee is someone who understands their role with a company and interacts well with their supervisors and coworkers. The traits of a good employee are linked to your personality and approach to your responsibilities. Embodying positive attributes can empower you to impress your employer, connect more deeply with your colleagues and advance your career. In this article, we discuss the qualities of a good employee and provide examples of how these characteristics materialise in the workplace.

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9 qualities of a good employee

Consider developing these qualities of a good employee:

1. Reliability

A reliable employee is a professional who exudes consistency. Their arrival in the office might be prompt, for example, or they might exceed their quotas each week. Your employer may depend on you to perform at a high level constantly. They can have confidence in your abilities and know you can deliver work that meets their standards. Your teammates may also trust you to succeed in your role.

Related: Areas for Improvement To Help With Employee Performance

2. Leadership

Strong leadership refers to an employee's ability to direct a team of professionals to success. It's essential that you know how to meet the needs of your staff members and evaluate their work performance. It may also be your responsibility to consider the interests of the organisation.

For example, if the company's goal is to open a new building in another city, you may assign one associate to research property prices and another to determine the costs of renovation and building maintenance. Next, you schedule a meeting with your team to assess their progress. Effective leaders communicate clear expectations.

3. Independence

As an independent employee, you can handle your occupational tasks efficiently with little to no supervision. Your managers may trust that you can remain productive throughout a project and deliver the assignment on time. Another aspect of independence is the ability to assess your progress and critique your own work. You can identify ways to improve the project's quality without being asked, and you understand how to use resources to seek clarification when you need it. Self-sufficient professionals often feel comfortable working alone and can hold themselves accountable for their actions at work.

For instance, a social media manager who's independent creates a content calendar for next month before her supervisor assigns the task to her. She also compiles the analytics from the previous month's content into a comprehensive report, all within the confines of one shift. Her team leaders are confident she can meet the client's deadlines, which gives her the freedom to approach her work in the way she deems fit. Enhancing your skill of working independently can help you foster deeper trust with your employer.

3. Ambition

Ambition as an employee can help the company reach its goals. Your commitment to achieving professional growth may motivate you to develop a stronger work ethic. As you continue to strengthen your skills, the quality of your work may increase, which can contribute to the employer. Being ambitious can also help you advance your career. An employer that notices your drive to implement positive change may consider you for leadership positions.

For example, a teacher strives to learn how to use advanced technology in the classroom. His ambition enables him to develop interactive presentations for his lessons, which increases student engagement and retainment of the material. The headteacher feels pleased with the teacher for learning something new. As a professional, consider what you want to accomplish in the next three to five years of your career. You can show your managers you value your role and want to expand your industry knowledge.

4. Creativity

Another attribute of a competent employee is creativity. You can develop innovative ideas for your position. The more creative your work, the more you can help the company distinguish itself from competitors. For instance, you suggest a catchy slogan that makes your employer's brand more recognisable to consumers, increasing sales and company revenue.

A passion for learning inspires creative professionals to seek resources and try different strategies to achieve their ideal results. They often take the initiative to brainstorm how to change a design or policy. For decision-making, an associate can propose a solution that the rest of the team may not have considered. Employers value creative thinkers because they enhance workplace collaboration and help the company adapt to change more easily. For instance, an employee may implement an innovative programme that makes onboarding for new employees more engaging and less time-consuming.

Read more: Why Creativity Skills are Important and How To Develop Them

5. Integrity

Integrity involves transparent communication, where employees are upfront about their workplace conduct and the extent of their expertise. For example, if a technical architect asks an engineer about their progress in developing the code for a new product, the engineer is honest about how much of the code they've written. Integrity also entails knowledge of ethical practices within your organisation. You know how to maintain professionalism and remain in good standing with your peers, supervisors and clients. You're also willing to inform your colleagues about how to make the work environment better.

Employers also often rely on the integrity of job candidates to make effective hiring decisions. During an interview for a job, you can speak honestly about your career aspirations and technical skills, which the recruiters may appreciate. Showing integrity during your first meeting with an employer can enable you to build a connection that can benefit you once you begin working for the company.

Related: Collaboration Skills: Definitions and Examples

6. Self-awareness

Self-awareness is the ability to identify your strengths and weaknesses as an employee. You can recognise when you're confident in handling a work task and when you may need a coworker to assist you. As you adjust to your role, you can acknowledge your progress and predict how much more time you need to improve to reach your goals. Being self-aware can boost your integrity since you're being honest with yourself and your colleagues. It can also help you make more informed decisions in the workplace.

For instance, your supervisor asks you if you're available to lead a new project. You assess your workload and technical skills to deliver a quality final product. When you accept the role, your self-awareness assures you that you've made the right choice, which helps your teammates remain productive. Think about your capability of understanding who you are as an employee and what circumstances enable you to perform at your best.

Related: Interview Question: "What Are Your Strengths and Weaknesses?"

7. Dedication

Managers may prefer a dedicated employee who strives to overcome challenges in their careers and help the company accomplish milestones. For example, if an assignment becomes more complicated than you anticipated, your dedication empowers you to find a solution to the problem and learn from your mistakes. You may also be flexible, meaning you can adapt to changing circumstances while still keeping a positive attitude. With dedication, you may be passionate about your work, and you're open to learning new things. Consider entering a field that excites you, which can make your workdays more enjoyable.

8. Emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is the ability to empathise with others, a trait that can help you work with your colleagues. It can complement your leadership skills. For example, when you're managing a team, you may be cognisant of your associate's concerns about their tasks. You can recognise a shift in their demeanour and meet with them to lend your support. Now you're informed about how your team feels about their work environment.

Perhaps your colleague has a matter in their personal life that's distracting them from work activities, or they feel overwhelmed with a new assignment. You can show that you identify with their dilemmas and propose suggestions to help them perform better. Emotional intelligence can enable you to foster trust with the professionals on your team. To strengthen this skill, think about a situation from your peer's perspective and offer encouragement that can put them back in good spirits.

9. Collaboration

Supervisors often encourage teamwork in the workplace to complete complex tasks more quickly. Team members rely on one another to form strategies and meet their objectives. When collaborating with your coworkers, you may respect their different perspectives and make suggestions of your own. It's important to have competent interpersonal skills, which helps you build positive relationships with your teammates. You can also boost your problem-solving skills, allowing you to resolve conflict without interfering with the team's mission.

For example, employees at a charity organisation work together to attract new donors and volunteers for fundraising events. When one person suggests creating advertisements to promote their missions, a colleague supports the idea and suggests developing radio and television advertisements. They share their experiences and combine their expertise to benefit the organisation. As an effective collaborator, you can learn from your coworkers, which can be beneficial if you're new to the industry. They can provide mental support throughout a project. Their work ethic can also inspire you to become a better employee.

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