‘Who is the ideal employee‘ is a classic question during hiring processes. Employers ask it in order to hire the right person and potential employees ask it in order to market their suitability more strongly.
I believe the ideal employee differs for different positions and different industries but there are some traits that are sought and associated with the term in most workplaces.
They work hard and smart. They are strong in prioritizing their tasks and finish them well. They don’t let conflicting priorities and deadlines serve as an excuse for poor outcomes. They take ownership of their projects and deliver them with or without the team’s cooperation.
When they need to delegate a task or request an extension, they do that well in advance so that deadlines are not missed. They take breaks without feeling guilty because not only are they productive, they also know how to take care of themselves. They utilize their paid time off wisely.
They demonstrate integrity: They can be trusted to do the right thing. They give their honest best even without being held accountable.
They exploit opportunities instead of sulking over problems and are in fact effective problem solvers. They innovate and are determined to deal with challenges that hinder productivity.
They challenge bad decisions and are ready to take the lead in recommending and working on more effective solutions. This is another sign of taking ownership of their roles in the company. They also demonstrate maturity in accepting alternate recommendations when their own decisions are challenged. They are ready to get to work to make the best solution work. Additionally, they know which battles to pick and are able to discern which ideas don’t need to be challenged.
They are team players. They are strong team players and work well with their peers and their supervisors. Even when they work on independent projects, they maintain healthy relationships with their colleagues. Being a team player has a lot to do with managing relationships effectively than simply sharing the workload. They are able to resolve work place conflicts, move on and not hold grudges.
They are able to maintain a consistent positive attitude and don’t surrender to personal mood-swings. This does not mean that they smile all the time and don’t experience bad days. It does mean that they maintain a sensible attitude towards their successes and problems.
They are emotionally intelligent. They can manage their personal feelings and are sensitive towards others. No matter how much we stress on the leave your personal emotions at home line, people bring their emotions to the workplace (and take their workplace emotions outside the workplace).
Emotionally intelligent people can control their emotions instead of letting their emotions control them. and they are able to empathize with others.
Thought it might not be realistic to expect an employee to be an exceptional performer all of the time, these traits can be developed with some determined practice.
The ideal employee question is asked during a hiring process but the personality traits can be observed only after the person is hired. In most cases, work histories can reveal a lot about how ideal a person has been at their previous performance and is important step before bringing someone new on board.
Can you think of an ideal employee? Which traits do you consider important in the workplace?