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How to Be a Good Employee

Whether you work in an office, a call center, or at a fast-food restaurant, it’s important to work hard at your job and be a good employee. Dedicate yourself to the tasks you’re assigned and participate in any training that’s offered to you. Always treat your co-workers, clients, and supervisors with professional respect. Being a good employee demonstrates to your supervisor that you’re dedicated to your work and will show your eligibility for a promotion or raise.


EditSucceeding at Your Job

  1. Model a strong work ethic and cover the basic requirements of your job. As soon as you start a new job, make it your business to learn the ropes as soon as possible. Many employees settle into a comfortable routine once they become proficient at a job. To set yourself apart and stand out as a good employee, always meet assignment deadlines and demonstrate a strong work ethic.[1]
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    • As a good employee, never make excuses for why you didn't do a task that was assigned to you.
  2. Show initiative by going above and beyond tasks that you're assigned. This will show your boss that you're able to work hard and serve as a model employee. Take the initiative to complete tasks on your own, so your supervisor doesn’t have to micro-manage your work. If there's a way you can do more than complete the minimum requirement on a task, show that you're a good employee by putting in extra work.
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    • If you don't know how to do a certain task that your employer expects you to perform, ask your employer or co-workers.
  3. Learn new skills and take advantage of training opportunities. Many employers offer periodic on-site training or online training courses. In some instances, you may be expected to travel to a conference for company-side training. Take advantage of these valuable opportunities, as they'll allow you to pick up new skills and become a better employee. Picking up new skill sets and work-related education shows that you value improving your workplace performance.[2]
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    • Also, if the office has a budget crisis and lets people go, highly-trained employees stand a better chance of being retained than those who can only do one thing.
  4. Take criticism gracefully when it concerns your work performance. Constructive criticism from a supervisor, client, or co-worker can give some good ideas about what people expect from you. Criticism can also show you areas in which your performance has room to improve. This is a good thing! View criticism as an opportunity to improve as an employee.[3]
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    • For example, say that a client points out that you made numerous grammatical errors on advertising copy. Instead of becoming defensive or blaming someone else, take this as an opportunity to brush up on your writing skills.
  5. Ask your supervisor what their expectations are when you’re in doubt. While the overall expectations should have been laid out clearly in the job posting and the interview, you may find that the nature of your work changes as months and years pass. Or, you may occasionally be asked to perform tasks around the workplace that you haven’t been trained for. Clear up any confusion by asking your supervisor exactly what they expect of you.[4]
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    • For example, if you work in an advertising agency and you’re assigned to a type of client you haven’t worked with before, find out from your boss what you can do to succeed at the assigned task. You might say something like, “I’ve never represented a car company before; do you have any advice on what types of ad strategies work best?”
  6. Recognize and volunteer for opportunities around the office. Volunteering for not strictly required work around your workplace allows you to choose the part you will play in a workplace assignment. It also shows that you care about the company and are willing to go the extra mile to help out. This shows dedication and ambition, which are 2 qualities that bosses look for in good employees.[5]
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  7. Cooperate well with others in group assignments to show initiative. Being a team player and cooperating with others on projects shows that you care about your job and the people you work with. On the other hand, if you pass on opportunities to work on projects, you'll seem like you're not interested in the job you were hired for.
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  8. Use the last 15-20 minutes of your shift to be productive and prepare for the next day. While other employees may leave their shift 15 minutes early or browse the internet for the last 20 minutes, show that you're an excellent and hard-working employee by making productive use of this time.[6] One of the best uses of this time is to organize your work space for tomorrow.
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    • Take a moment to put away loose papers, clean up your work space, and locate things you'll need for the next day.

EditCultivating Workplace Relationships

  1. Develop good relationships with the people in your office. An important aspect of being a good employee is working well with the people in your office or workplace. Having a positive attitude will help improve office morale overall and demonstrate to your co-workers that you’re interested in working together as a team. Treat all co-workers with courtesy, respect, and kindness.[7]
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    • Even if you work from home and don't see your co-workers in person, you can still develop working relationships by being polite over email.
  2. Avoid participating in workplace gossip to show professionalism. Your employer is not paying you to gossip or to kill time talking with your workplace friends. Keep the majority of your workplace interactions focused on the task at hand. This will show that you’re a good employee and that you’re dedicated to remaining focused while at work. It will also keep you out of unnecessary office politics and cliques.[8]
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    • Of course, you want to establish a good rapport with your co-workers, and a little chatting is inevitable and can help the time pass. But, keep this chatting professional and positive, and avoid talking about other employees behind their backs.
  3. Offer junior employees guidance and encouragement to build morale. Serving as a workplace mentor, whether officially or unofficially, is a great way to excel at your own job. Offer to show new employees the ropes or offer training tips. If you are not sure someone understood something, be willing to ask if they need assistance. Don't do the work for them, teach them instead.[9]
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    • Be careful what you say to new employees, and always keep your conduct professional. Don't air your grievances, frustrations, or interpersonal conflicts.
  4. Have a positive attitude around the office to boost overall productivity. A positive attitude is a sure sign of a good employee and goes a long way with many supervisors. So, when you talk to your boss about a work-related problem, go with at least one suggestion in mind for a solution.[10] Even if your boss doesn't take your suggestion, you will look like a problem-solver, not a complainer.
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    • If you walk around the workplace with a negative attitude and spend your time griping or complaining, you’ll lower the morale of the entire staff.

EditModeling Workplace Conduct

  1. Behave professionally around the workplace. Good employees model professionalism by treating others around them with respect. When talking to your office-mates, avoid making any inappropriate or off-color remarks to coworkers or supervisors. Avoid wasting your time joking around, being frequently off-task, or standing around in the common areas instead of at work in your workspace.[11]
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    • If this is your first job out of high school or college, it may help to imagine that everyone you interact with is a teacher or professor.
  2. Maintain a clean job-performance record. Do your job well, stick to the allotted time for lunch breaks, and avoid having any disciplinary marks put on your workplace HR record. As much as it's within your power, avoid arguments or disagreements with other employees. If you do have an in-office conflict, sort it out by talking to your boss and HR department.[12]
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    • Frequent absences, missed deadlines, reprimands for unprofessional behavior, or too many complaints from customers may cause you to be dismissed from your job.
  3. Arrive at your job on time every day. Punctuality is an important part of being a good employee. It allows you to start your work day on time and will impress your boss and other co-workers who work the same shifts that you do. It's also a good way to show clients that you're a good employee. Coming to work late, on the other hand, shows a lack of interest or motivation, or may show that you’re easily distracted from tasks.[13]
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    • If you struggle to be on time, try planning to get to work 15 minutes early. That way, even if you're running late for your intended arrival time, you'll still arrive at work on time.
  4. Dress appropriately for your job and office space. Every workplace is different; some supervisors expect you to wear a suit or skirt, while others don't mind jeans and t-shirts. Find out from your boss or the HR department what the company dress policy is. Dressing appropriately shows that you take the work seriously and are dedicated to the job, and it may boost your performance as well.[14]
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    • Examples of inappropriate attire for any workplace include: stained or torn clothing, unwashed clothes, and shirts with inappropriate words or images on them.


  • Don't spend a lot of time on personal phone calls. Work is for work. If you need to make a personal call during the day, do it over your lunch break.
  • Promotions are most commonly based on your ability to do your job, loyalty to the company, your aptitude, and your educational background.

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from How to of the Day