If you have not read the work of Dale Carnegie, you are entering the workforce with a severe disadvantage. In brief, he was a pioneer in methods on dealing with difficult business and interpersonal situations. For example:
How do you tell someone they are wrong without them becoming defensive?
How do you ask someone to do something they don’t want to do?
How to Win Friends and Influence People is a great read and perhaps even more relevant in this age of electronic communication, where it is hard to understand the tone of a message. Aside from interpersonal skills there are a few other characteristics that make one a “good” employee.
Prompt & Timeliness
After the first year in employment, or after you are off probationary period, there may be a temptation to follow the tracks of others in the office. To arrive a little later than the start time, to take a little more time at breaks or lunch. You may think no one notices, but they do. Some will be those around you who want promotions; others will be those above you who decide which employees get promotions. They all notice. Nobody will likely say anything, but it’s there on the performance appraisal.
Attention to Detail
Being aware of what you’re working on and what level of detail is expected saves everyone time. Sure, it’s currently acceptable to send a text or social media message with spelling errors. But in business communications, weekly updates and / or quarterly reports, grammar, spelling, punctuation and math calculations should be flawless. Why? It saves the valuable time of your boss and project team if they have to read it and send it back to you for corrections. In the worst case, a grammatical or math error that is undetected could result in a social, business or accounting faux pas, costing your company a client, a contract or even a lawsuit.
One of the ways humans create bonds is to share confidences. These can be small disclosures such as preferences for vacation spots, favorite foods or movies; or larger topics such as religion, politics and opinions on how the company is being run. Stick to the facts, avoid conjecture and, if it’s an opinion, state it as such. Be discreet – don’t pass along office hearsay and gossip. Don’t share other peoples’ confidences to you. And as far as business information goes, anything that comes down from the upper management should not leave your lips, especially outside of the office.