All managers share one common characteristic. We are constantly searching for the star employee to help the organization accomplish big things. I’ve been lucky to have some pretty great teams over the years. When thinking about those teams and the individuals who made up the groups, there are several characteristics that jump up as being the qualities I would look for when selecting a new team member. Here’s the list of things you can do to become the employee all bosses would hire.
Wear more than 1 hat – This is especially true in small business or startups. Employees who are able to not be defined by their job title, but rather pitch in wherever and whenever the need arises are the hardest to replace. One of the best team members we ever had was our marketing coordinator, Angie. Angie would not only do her job, but would also do anything we asked for help with AND 10 things we hadn’t thought of but she saw needed done. It was evident she needed more challenge than we could provide at the time and she moved on to much bigger role in a different organization.
Adjust your lens as needed – This means knowing when to widen your lens and look at the big picture to try to see what’s coming at you from a distance. Once you understand the landscape, you can help your teammates decide how best to tackle the challenges. There are also times when you need to tighten the lens and look at the details. Regardless of the job you do, you want to turn in a work product that is flawless. Rework is a killer in most businesses and when it’s your customer that discovers the mistake, it can be catastrophic. If a supplier sends the wrong quantity of a product to one of your customers, it’s not the supplier that gets the blame, it’s you because that’s who your customer trusted with the order.
Be persistent in the face of obstacles – Angela Duckworth, in a really great TED talk called this grit. You can watch the video at the end of this article. She defines grit as having passion and perseverance. In any job you are going to face struggles in the pursuit of your goals, both long and short term. Managers want to see the determination of a team member who can stick with a situation and see it to resolution.
Be a model of humility – The way you treat people counts. Today’s business world is all about relationships. I read once that Warren Buffet is one of the most modest and respectful individuals you would ever want to meet. He treats the cashier at DQ (he’s fond of the Dilly Bar) the same way he treats the CEO of a company he’s in negotiations with to acquire. Wealth, status, and position shouldn’t have an impact on the way you treat people.
Under promise and over deliver – At the end of the day. Getting stuff done matters. Whether you are an individual contributor that has a defined work output you are responsible for, or you are a manager and have to make sure your team delivers on it’s goals and objectives. The people who deliver consistently will capture the attention of the organization. This means having a good handle on how much you think you or your team can handle, scoping, and making sure you deliver that stellar work product we talked about earlier.
These things aren’t hard to accomplish. There’s no special skill involved with anything on the list. It just takes being mindful of the way you are approaching your work. The end result is you will quickly become the employee any boss would want to hire, but more importantly, if you start right now, you may just become the employee your current boss can’t afford to lose!