Career Planning

How To Be A Better Employee In 5 Steps

How To Be A Better Employee In 5 Steps

Getting attention from your boss can be hard. Getting positive attention from your boss can be even harder. At BestSelf, we’d like to offer some tips and tricks for how to be a better employee so your boss can’t help but notice.

1. Be Resourceful

You’ve heard the old saying, “There’s no such thing as a stupid question.” While that’s true, there is such a thing as too many questions. If a manager gives an employee a task, the last thing he wants is to be interrupted frequently with follow-up questions.

Take notes while you’re being given the task. If you’re like me, you can’t just keep everything your boss says in your head but you don’t want to approach them an hour later asking him or her to repeat it again.

"It's not resources but resourcefulness that ultimately makes the difference." - Tony Robbins

The best case scenario is to figure out what you need to know in order to complete the tasks and ask when you are given the assignment. If that’s not possible, ask shortly afterwards. Don’t feel like you are banned from asking anything about it ever again, just make sure it’s not constant and it’s not something you could have answered yourself with a bit of research.

Want to look stylish while you’re taking down those notes? Check out our Sidekick Pocket notebook here. Perfect for those moments when you need to jot down assignments in a jiff.

2. Don’t Let Micromanagement Stop You

No one likes to be micromanaged, and you’ll know it’s happening to you if your boss hangs over your shoulder for every little task and assignment. Luckily, there are easy things you can do so that it doesn’t happen to you.


First, you should stay on task. Everyone needs to take a quick break from their computer screens but make sure you stand up and walk away so that everyone knows you’re taking a step back. Take advantage of your few minutes to take a lap around the office, go get a drink or do some stretches in the break room. That way, it’s clear to everyone you’re taking a much-needed breather.

Second, if you’re struggling with completing your assignments, talk to your boss when you’re initially given the assignment. Your boss would much rather help you become more efficient than have to stand over your shoulder 24/7.

Approach them with the problem but also present a solution.

Finally, when you come across a problem, whether it’s with an angry customer or a situation with spreadsheets, don’t immediately go to management asking them to fix it. Instead, approach them with the problem and a couple solutions that you’ve come up with.

That way, they don’t feel like they have to solve everything. Even if your solution isn’t chosen to address the problem, your manager will take notice of your problem-solving mindset.

3. Strive for Harmony at Home

Studies show that those with harmonious personal lives are more likely to excel in the workforce. In his article “Why Happy Employees Are 12% More Productive,” Jonha Revesencio says, “We find that human happiness has large and positive causal effects on productivity. Positive emotions appear to invigorate human beings.” BestSelf is all about helping you gain peace and harmony not only in the workforce, but also at home.

One key to ensuring harmony at home is to pay attention to work-life balance. It's easy to say you'll spend "just one extra hour" at the office to finish up a project. This is fine if it happens every once in a while, but it's easy for these occasional extra hours to turn into a regular occurrence until, before you know it, you're working 60-hour weeks and only seeing your family on the weekends.

To avoid this, remember that in the big picture, having a successful career doesn't mean much if it comes at the expense of the relationships with your loved ones. There's nothing wrong with being driven, but make sure you keep a sense of perspective about the means you're using to accomplish your goals.

4. Embrace Criticism

No one likes receiving criticism, but positive criticism is a great tool to up your game at work. Think of it this way: If your boss takes the time to sit you down and let you know what you can improve, then it means they care about you and your career success.

Therefore, we suggest that you have a positive attitude towards criticism. Indeed, you can even go a step further and ask your boss to suggest ways you can improve. Work with them to set goals for your performance and professional growth. Ask them for career advice and take the lead during performance reviews. Not only will this help you grow as an employee, but it will also give you the evidence you need to make a case for a raise.

If nothing else, embracing criticism is a valueable skill if you're planning to start your own business. As co-founder and CMO of HotelQuickly Christian Mischler said, “There are always critics and pessimists, at any stage of business. … As an entrepreneur in a competitive industry, you have to have a thick skin. It’s important to listen to constructive feedback.”

5. Never Stop Learning New Things

The final step in learning how to be a better employee is to keep perfecting your craft. You should always be on the lookout to learn more about your profession, even if it means learning from a junior employee or staying late at work. Technology is constantly changing and, chances are, your work will be affected by it.

For example, Adobe Creative Cloud is continuously improving their functionality by adding new software for designing. If there’s a chance to learn a new skill, then go for it. You will never regret gaining more knowledge in your field. This applies whether your end goal is to move up at your current company, find a new job elsewhere or even start your own business.

Make your boss or coworkers aware that you’re willing to learn more if they’re in a position you’d like to see yourself in some day. Chances are someone would be willing to lend you a helping hand, and your boss will most likely appreciate you going the extra mile to learn something beyond your job description.

Be Your Best Self at Work

When looking to stand out at work, the main thing is be humble and willing to constantly better yourself. Just remember to take it one step at a time.

If you’re looking for even more ways to be your best self, check out our article on ways to be more productive.

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