How to be a Great Employee! – Four Ideas to Help

TeamIt’s hard to lose a great employee, but it happened to me this week! It’s not about the productivity loss. As managers, we can always find a way to fix that. What’s hard is the loss of a GREAT employee. How to be a great employee is what I am talking about.

I always knew that it would be difficult if this particular employee (let’s call him Matt) left the company and it’s true. While we have other great employees, Matt was unique in his ability to do a fantastic job, get along with the team and have a positive attitude. He was the kind of employee that you hoped would never leave. Even so, I am happy for Matt and wish him the best.

There is a ton we can learn from Matt.  Teens and college students, if you want your boss to keep you around and never want you to leave, pay attention to these things. Parents, do you want your college student or teen to find a great job and be recognized for their great qualities, make sure your teen is acquiring these skills. Here are three lessons to learn from Matt:

Show Up On Time! – I don’t care what generation you are from, or what your personality type is, you must be dependable! Being dependable requires that you get to work every day and you show up on time.  Matt was literally never late. In the seven years he worked for me, I don’t recall a time when he was ever late for work. This is something I struggle with, so I know how hard it is. But I also know that it can be done. You have to recognize that it’s important and it must be a priority if you hope to do well at your job. Mom and Dad, you need to help your student learn this skill. If they don’t learn it now, they will be forced to learn it later when it could cost them a job and money. I always tell my employees, buy two alarm clocks and put one across the room so you have to get up to shut it off. Do whatever you must, but figure this one out!

Get Good at What You Do! – You don’t have to be the best at everything, but you need to get good at your job.  Sometimes this takes a while, but if you practice and learn some tricks from your co-workers, you can gain the skills necessary to be good at your job. Matt was the most productive employee we had. He never looked like he was working hard, but he produced as much as anyone, and more than most. He was very efficient with his movements, he didn’t waste time, and he kept working.  Parents, are your teens learning some skills? They can be as basic as sweeping , mopping and scrubbing or it can be specialized skills like auto mechanics, farming or sewing. If your teen can learn these skills at home, they will be better prepared to learn new skills in a work environment, and, who knows, they may be able to put their existing skills to work.

Hard Work Still Needs to be Done – My employees are used to hard work. Most positions that I manage are very physical, so hard work is well known. I am concerned with the number of students that seem to be very unfamiliar with hard work. This is the kind of work that requires a shovel, a hand tool, or getting dirty. Matt was great at working hard. He made it look easy, and clearly wasn’t afraid to work up a sweat. How about you? Do you know what it’s like to get dirty, or to work hard, where your body gets physically tired? These are good things to experience, and if you are willing to do this type of work, your boss will be impressed! If you are not afraid of hard work, it may earn you higher paying wages than jobs that are “easier”.

Have a Great Attitude! – Matt had a wonderful attitude. I don’t think I ever saw him angry or even upset. He always had a smile and was well-liked by his coworkers. His tone of voice was pleasant and he regularly joked and contributed to a fun work environment. This is so critical to any work place. Are you an enjoyable person to be around?  So often you hear of drama or stress at work and it’s usually due to someone with a lousy attitude.  If you make your work place more enjoyable, and people are glad that you are around, this will dramatically help your situation at work.  Mom and Dad, do you tolerate a poor attitude from your student at home? If so you may be hindering their future. It is normal to struggle with attitude stuff, and we all do. However, having a reputation for a bad attitude will sabotage your opportunities with any company. Start working on this goal now and it will help you dramatically in your career.

I am going to miss Matt, and he will be missed by our whole team. If you work on these three things, they will help you with anything you decide to do in the future. Your boss, like me, will want to keep you around and will pray you never leave. Isn’t it cool that a young person can do significant things, at home, to improve their chances of having a great job? I hope you start working on your future today! Check out the related articles below, and if you haven’t signed up for regular email updates, check out the link below and get a free e-book in the process. Thanks for reading!

About The Author

Duane Rockensock

Duane (Rocky) Rockensock is a husband, a dad, and the National Reconditioning Manager for AmeriGas Propane. Since he was a teenager, Duane has loved hearing the stories of how people have started creative businesses or found ways to use their talents to accomplish amazing things. For that reason he started this blog to encourage teens and adults to find their purpose and to provide the tools and resources to make that happen!

  • Having a great attitude is so important. We often forget how our attitude can affect those around us both good and bad. I think employees with good attitudes often see more promotions than those with better skill sets but bad attitudes. Bottom line is we want to work with people we like and trust.

    • Rocky

      I would rather hire a beginner with a great attitude and good work ethic than an experienced employee with a poor attitude. I agree with you Jonathan! This is one of the reasons most hiring decisions are made in the first few seconds of an interview. You can quickly pick out a great attitude and you just want the person on your team!

      Thanks for stopping by!

  • Kathy Clubb

    Hi Rocky, seems to me that ‘Matt’ will also make a great employer one day. Hope you find someone to replace him.

    • Rocky

      Thanks Kathy. I do too. Part of me hopes he will miss us and come back, but that’s pretty selfish. Time to move on! Makes for a good lesson and discussion, though!

  • Thank you for this Rocky. I used to be a great employee, but then frustration set in about not understanding what I was supposed to be doing with my life. Changes in a companies directions can also affect the way you feel. Your post has helped me see the errors of my way and understand that even though I have been at the same company for over 11 years, I need to be an outstanding employee once again.

    • Rocky

      Brett, thanks for reading! I am honored that you were helped by the post. I know you will be able to shift your thinking and become the employee that you once were. There was a time when my boss motivated me to shift my thinking about my situation. He wasn’t nice about it, but it worked. You sound conscientious. That’s a great quality and I am sure it will be recognized again! I wish you the best!

  • RoseGauss

    I agree that a good attitude is extremely important. It is difficult sometimes especially when you are not appreciated, but it’s still necessary.
    All four of these points are excellent!

    • Rocky

      Thanks for reading Rose! When there is no feeling of being valued, it can be impossible!

  • Antionette Blake

    All extremely important traits but it truly amazes me that it’s not the teens that need better work ethics, it’s the boomers returning to the work force!

    • Rocky

      Wow! I hadn’t considered that old fashioned work ethic and attitude stuff would be forgotten by the boomer generation. What a great insight! You must be experiencing some less than acceptable behaviors.

      • Antionette Blake

        Unfortunately, yes!

        Antionette M. Blake
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  • Gary Lun

    Great points Rocky, all four points you mentioned are important especially working in a corporate environment. I’d say doing hard work and still having a great attitude is the hardest thing to do. It’s not like you’re going to yell at your boss or anything, but it can easily make your mind grumpy and make you stop seeing the good side of things at work.

    • Rocky

      You make a good point Gary. Especially hard work with little or no recognition. Regular “attaboys” can make the difference when the work is tiresome. If your efforts are never recognized it can be an oppressive environment where a good attitude is difficult. If you can still smile it is all that much more welcome and refreshing! Thanks for stopping by, Gary!