Education and Personal DevelopmentProductivity & EffectivenessSocietal Impact

The 10 Behaviours of Effective Employees

By 21/04/2020 June 23rd, 2022 One Comment

Great things in business are never done by one person. They’re done by a team of people.

Steve Jobs, Entrepreneur and Business Owner

Every manager dreams of having the best employees they can find. A dream team of people capable of achieving so much with so little strain on management.

They dream of the perfect culture where people work well together, have fun, delivery amazing business results and respect each other.

It’s perfection – but hard to achieve.

But it’s easier when you focus on behaviours.

For more details on each behaviour plus ideas about hiring and managing grab a copy of the free book.

Hiring becomes easier when you know what behaviours you want people to demonstrate. Promotion, succession planning, performance management, employee feedback, retention, employee engagement and rapid growth are all easier when you focus on behaviours. Yet so few managers and HR teams do.

Why behaviours?

The culture of your organisation is nothing more than group habit – it’s what people do every day. It’s the sum of the behaviours. If you want to shift a culture – shift behaviours. If you have a toxic culture, you have toxic behaviours. Behaviours underlie everything – and high performing teams have people demonstrating high performing behaviours.

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Photo by Mimi Thian on Unsplash

What are behaviours?

I like the way Manager-tools describes behaviours.

  1. What people do
  2. What they say
  3. How they say it
  4. Their body language
  5. Their work output

When I was hiring like crazy, 100% year on year, it was proving hard to work out who to hire. We didn’t want to rush in to anything, but we also needed to get smarter out finding the right people.

So we studied what our best people did, said, how they said it, their body language and their work output. We codified it, came up with examples and tested it against other high performers. They all exhibited some, or all, of the behaviours we observed.

So we created interview questions to tease out these behaviours, we made them part of our performance reviews, we created a behaviour matrix for promotion, we managed people against these behaviours and we gave performance reviews around them.

It worked well and so I will share with you 10 of the behaviours I’ve seen high performing people exhibit.

You may need to come up with your own behaviours that are right for your culture, you may find this list helpful. The key is being the kind of manager that knows what behaviours they want (the culture you are trying to nurture), role model them yourself and holds others to the high bar of high performing behaviours.

Not everyone has all ten, some people may only exhibit one or two of the following, but high performing effective employees demonstrate some or many of these behaviours – and I’ve yet to see anyone exhibit all ten!

For more details on each behaviour plus ideas about hiring and managing grab a copy of the free book.

Here are the 10 behaviours I have identified talented people exhibit – I break each one out a little in this post, and a lot more in the free book.

  1. They are visibly passionate
  2. They are open minded
  3. They are not constrained by their job title
  4. They become company smart
  5. They focus on the customer
  6. They relentlessly improve the process and system they work in
  7. They do what they say they will
  8. They are good communicators
  9. They add skills and skills and skills
  10. They are brave

They are visibly passionate

Good employees are visibly passionate and are a joy to be around. They exude positivity and a can do attitude. It doesn’t mean they don’t question how things are done, but they do it in a way that encourages discussion and isn’t just complaining.

They attract other people to be around them.

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Photo by Ian Schneider on Unsplash

They are open-minded

Effective employees are open to new ways of working assuming these new ways have been somewhat considered with evidence. They are experimenters and enjoy trying new ways of working. They are not afraid to open their minds to new ideas.

They maybe don’t like change, very few people do, but they are open to it.

They are not constrained by their job titles

One of the worst things you could ever do to a team is create tight job descriptions and then manage people against them.

Sure, create them if you really need to for compliance, but celebrate those that buck their job description and do what the business needs doing. After all, how could you ever codify everything that happens in your business, especially emerging problems, in to a job description?

Effective employees do not stand by and watch failures and poor work being done because it’s not in their job descriptions. They do what needs to be done, delegate, work with others and achieve success despite what their job description says. When was the last time you looked at your job description to make the right decision?

They become company smart

Effective employees learn as much about the business as they can, quickly. They get smart right from the start.

Who is helpful? Who is not?

Where does the work come from? Where does it go?

What are the values? How do they do X, or Y, or Z?

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Photo by Patrick Tomasso on Unsplash

They work out what the company mission and vision is and get behind it. And if it’s not a compelling vision or mission then they leave – remember, effective employees have choices.

They focus on the customer

Effective employees focus on the customer. Everything they do is from the customer’s perspective.

They know that without the customer nothing else matters.

They prioritise their work, but drop it to deal with customer issues – after all, an upset customer always increases cost, brand loss and potential retention.

They work tirelessly to create the right processes and environments that support the customer, not internal politics, reporting lines or budgets -they consider these – but from a customer’s perspective.

This is often classed as cheating by out-dated managers – but it needs to be done – the customer must succeed.

They relentlessly improve the process and system they work in

The majority of the success in any business is down to the system that people work in. Effective employees know this and they work hard to create successful environments, processes and systems so that people can flourish.

Effective employees spend large chunks of time improving the system.

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Photo by Philipp Mandler on Unsplash

They do what they say they will

An effective employee does what they say they will. If they say it’s going to be done you can rely on them to do it – or at least try to complete (remember, the system doesn’t always help).

They are trusted – and trust is built over time by delivering value, being consistent and being a joy to work with.

They are good communicators

Effective employees are excellent communicators. They listen, they respond (not react) and they are clear in their language. They encourage others and are crystal clear in their explanations and communication. They don’t waste other people’s time.

They add skills and skills and skills

Effective employees never sit still and think they’re enough – they always build new skills. They are effectively adding skills to skills to skills to skills. They are invaluable in this respect.

Effective employees are a nightmare to write job descriptions for – as they often step outside it – but they also have skills and experiences that are rare in the industry.

They are brave

Effective employees are brave. They take risks, calculated risks. They are not afraid to speak their mind, ask why or challenge the nonsense that often happens in organisations.

They are just the kind of people you need confronting corporate madness and pushing the boundaries forward. This is even more of a positive behaviour if combined with good communication skills ; it results in less conflict 🙂

These are the 10 behaviours I’ve seen in effective employees. They are the 10 behaviours I interview for (using behavioural interview questions) and they are the behaviours I manage people against.

For more details on each behaviour plus ideas about hiring and managing grab a copy of the free book.

Rob

Rob