Top Valued Employee Traits
Updated: Jun 26, 2019
You put your heart and soul into that job application and shone like a star in the interview. Now you have got the job! But how can you keep this role whilst still showing your joy and willingness for the work?
There are many traits an employer values in an employee. No matter what industry you work within, the three traits presented here following will always set you in good stead...
Before we get started on the traits, one thing I must impart to you is that self-awareness and self-knowledge is the greatest and strongest power of all. Knowing yourself helps guide you to find the right job, the right people, and the right avenue for you. It is a journey to know yourself, so if you are reading this thinking you do not know where to start, you are not alone. I will write another blog exploring this further, but for now, you can get started with a few questions to your self. Give yourself time to answer these and be honest with yourself:
How would I describe my communication style? Am I forceful? Quiet? Persuasive? Pretending to be neurotypical? Do I use tact with delicate matters? Am I ambiguous?
What affect does my communication style have on others? (you may like to ask a friend/ partner/ parent/ teacher for advice here)
When I communicate my needs, do people want to listen to me? Do they understand me? How do I know this is true?
Thinking about my emotional expressions, how would I describe my style?
What are my greatest strengths?
What is one thing I completely and utterly support or believe in life? (it can be a trait, a faith, an action or wish for social change)
Now that you have thought about these, let's explore those three traits that employers value. As you read the traits, think back to your answers to these questions. Think about HOW you can show who you are whilst enacting the three traits at work.
Your ego can become an obstacle to your work. If you start believing in your greatness, it is the death of your creativity ~Marina Abramovic
1. Be Humble
The most valued trait an employer seeks is for their employees to present their skills and abilities with humility. This means that you realise yourself to be equal to others; not above or below them. Indeed you may have greater skills in certain areas, or be "better" at aspects of work than your colleague, but this does not mean overall that you are a better human than them. Humility expresses the compassionate, patient, and calm side of you. It is the knowing that while you have a job here, you are just part of the business, not the reason the business exists. Your skill matters, but do not demand people worship you based on that skill.
The word 'humble' stems from the Latin humus meaning ‘ground’. To be humble means to realise the dimensions of reality and of your ego: that you are not of great importance. This could be misinterpreted as self-hate, but humbleness (or "humility") is better understood as the art of being 'grounded' in your ability, to not overestimate your talent, to act with integrity, and, even if you are world-renown for your talents, that you remain modest.
While modern job search and requests for CV's tend to speak of enhancing your positives, and rejecting (or at very least minimizing) your negatives, this does not mean you have avenue to self-grandiose or inflate your ego. If you do not know how to formulate a critical argument, for example, and the job calls for it-- this is probably not the job for you. Similarly, if the role requires specifics of a computer program knowledge that you have never heard of, applying (and getting that job) is recipe for disaster. It is good to have belief in your own abilities, but it is better when that belief comes with a pinch of reality and a smidgen of self-doubt.
Humility builds relationships and demonstrates your ability to work in a team. Leading with an overly strong ego does the opposite. In the short-term, an egotistic person may attract attention, but over time the people who follow them will feel used, betrayed and lost. It is as if Ego forces people to look at you, but it often comes without gain. At work, of course we want to hear that you can do the job, but we will feel betrayed if you extended the truth or told a lie. There is no success in being self-grandising. Be accepting of your own truth and share that with us.
“Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is watching.” ~C S Lewis
2. Show Integrity
The second most wanted trait at work is integrity. While being humble means accepting your reality, integrity means taking responsibility and ownership of your reality. Examples of showing integrity are telling the truth even when its ugly, being upfront with your weaknesses, or admitting your mistakes. Integrity is humility in action.
Showing integrity involves being clear and honest, to act of good morals and be willing to accept the fallout. Work is a space of teams, deadlines, progress -- we all work together to reach these goals, and when it cannot be reached because you're hiding something important (like you've told someone you're more talented than you actually are/ you are covering up a mistake/ you cannot meet a deadline/ etc), then everyone suffers. At work, and in life, your reputation matters.
There is nothing wrong with admitting your weaknesses. Ironically, this is a strength. If you are in a job and are finding aspects overwhelming, make a time to meet with your line supervisor to discuss the challenges you are facing. Showing integrity is not just about lamenting your weaknesses, but showing some responsibility and self-management. Thus, if you do meet with your supervisor, make sure to have a few strategies or accommodations in mind that might help you manage your weaknesses at work.
Integrity shows that you can be trusted and given responsibility. Be forthcoming with difficulties and show integrity. It will help people trust you and trust in your abilities, as well produce quality results, improve a positive company culture, and build strong relationships.
“We often miss opportunity because it's dressed in overalls and looks like work” ~ Thomas A. Edison
3. Work Hard; Work Smart
Finally, employers value those who work hard. Working hard means getting the job done. This is easier when you know your strengths and limitations and have taken responsibility and ownership of these. How to work hard is involves knowing how to work smart. This involves being organized, reading the needs of your employer (which is best achieved by listening to and following instructions), completing work on time (or even better -- early!), taking initiative within your role, knowing when to say NO, and allowing yourself breaks in the work.
Showing that you can work hard and smart lets employers realise your potential. If you work smart, your employer will truly value you... and the work that you do engage in will feel more important to you, drawing out your best.