The 5 must-have qualities of the modern employee

It’s not just the managers that need to adapt and evolve to the changing workplace; it’s also the non-managerial employees. Dramatic changes in the way we work are being fueled by new behaviors and new technologies. In fact, there are five trends which are shaping the future of work. To keep pace there are five qualities that the modern employee needs to possess.

Embrace change
Employees have grown accustomed to doing things a certain way. They have used to the same technologies and the same processes for many years but that doesn’t mean that those technologies and ways of doing things are the best for our companies or for ourselves. Consider that in a few years millennials are going to become the majority workforce in the United States. These are people who grew up using social and collaborative tools to communicate, collaborate, and find people and information. This new workforce means new behaviors and new technologies; employees should be stepping forward together and embracing the change that is going to make their jobs and lives easier. As Winston Churchill said, “To improve is to change; to be perfect is to change often.”

Have a voice in your company
For the first time in the history of business “leader” and “manager” are not mutually exclusive. Leaders no longer to have to be managers, they have to be people who are passionate, knowledgeable, and comfortable with sharing (which is another key quality mentioned below). New collaborative technologies are empowering every single employee within an organization to share their passions, interests, ideas, and feedback. If you care about something you have the opportunity to become a leader and a known voice on that topic within your organization. However, this can’t happen if you don’t speak up. You can’t become a leader if you are scared of sharing your voice and your opinions. This means using the new collaborative technologies that are available to you to get recognized within your company. Why be a employee when you can become a leader?

Be autonomous
Now that employees have the ability to work from anywhere at anytime, being self-directed is crucial. There is no longer a manager watching your every move and reminding you to “get back to work.” This a privilege but it’s also a responsibility. A great deal of trust is being placed on you to accomplish your tasks. As a modern employee you must be capable of executing on your deliverables whether you are in an office, cafe, or at home.

Share and help others
This was one of the key qualities for the modern manger but it’s also a key quality for the modern employee. Traditionally employees wanted to keep ideas to themselves to get credit for their own contributions. This model is no longer effective. With the emergence of collaborative tools, ideas and feedback can easily be traced back to individuals within an organization. Sharing not only benefits the team but it also benefits you as an employee. Your peers and managers will recognize your can-do attitude and ability to lend a helping hand. Sharing can take many forms; you can share your ideas, feedback, what you are working on, documents, or anything else that you choose to. By sharing, your team and neighboring departments will recognize your name. To be a modern employee you must become comfortable with sharing and helping others.

Filter and focus
In today’s work environment we are pulled in many directions. We are on meetings while we check email, simultaneously tweeting, editing a document, and IMing with a colleague. With the proliferation of content and tools that coworkers and friends can “ping” us on it’s all too easy to lose focus. With emerging technology employees must remember to focus on what needs to get done. This means being able to put people and messages “over ice.” Information bombards employees from every direction which means employees need to become adept at filtering out and focusing on what’s crucial.

Source: Forbes magazine, August 2013
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Author: Jacob Morgan
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One Response to “The 5 must-have qualities of the modern employee”

  1. Tim Wefler Says:

    Thank you Johan!

    I felt compelled to comment about the trait of sharing, due to my experience in working with large sales teams. It is also very important to examine the corporate compensation and incentive programs to identify aspects of them that act as “inhibitors” to sharing and developing teamwork. Are the goals for each territory or district chosen based on performance in that particular territory, or are awards and bonuses paid based on a “curve”? I have learned that we can talk about sharing as much as we want, but it doesn’t honestly happen unless goals offer everyone an opportunity to earn recognition and that there is an additional incentive for “team” performance. Salespeople especially tend to be competitive and they are always looking for an “edge”.

    This is also an area where a coach, working with a leader or worker with confidentiality, can help a client reach levels of performance that a manager can not. A “dialogue” is important- not a “monologue”.

    I very much appreciate your blog posts! Thank you!