Be Better: Entering the Workplace as a Good Person

The Need to Be Better

A team is only as successful as each of its members. This idea rings true in today’s working world as more firms emphasize individual development and cultivation of a positive workplace culture. Each employee has the potential to bring a unique set of skills to the table, but these skills may require work and dedication to acquire, and there is always room for improvement.

For instance, we may not always be fully engaged while at work, or may not be devoting our full attention to our objectives. According to Gallup, business units with actively engaged employees experience a 20% increase in sales and a 10% increase in customer ratings. These businesses are also 21% more profitable. To recognize a deficiency in this category and work to improve upon is not only better for business, but it helps us to better ourselves and our quality of life. Self-actualization and improvement in the workplace can help us to grow into well-rounded individuals and achieve greater satisfaction from our careers.

Qualities that Count

Although everyone is unique and has different strengths and weaknesses, there are some key qualities exhibited by successful employees who positively contribute to workplace culture. These employees typically have clear values, and they demonstrate their commitment to them consistently. However, they are also inclusive and understanding of other coworkers’ backgrounds, values, and cultures. Inclusivity of all genders, ethnicities, and socio-economic backgrounds is of major importance in the workplace today, and has been highly overdue in receiving the attention it deserves. Being better first and foremost means treating everyone with the same level of respect with which we treat ourselves. This means making an active effort to make others feel accepted, such as paying attention to preferred names and pronouns.

Furthermore, these employees must be able to synthesize and act on feedback in a productive and positive manner and be able to give polite and helpful feedback in return. Making connections both inside and outside of the workplace with coworkers will help to foster positive and trusting relationships that facilitate communication of feedback, among other information, and will help us to reveal and improve upon our implicit biases. Implicit biases are the attitudes and stereotypes that affect how we perceive and treat others on a subconscious level, and these biases can negatively impact how we interact with our coworkers. Building personal relationships with coworkers can help us see past these biases and learn to understand others on a deeper level. This means that we must be attentive and active listeners, and must learn how to communicate with all levels of employees.

On a more technical level, successful employees are proactive in looking for new opportunities to showcase and develop their skills. But, they do not try to compete with their coworkers directly, instead choosing to focus on being better than they were yesterday. Moreover, they volunteer to help their coworkers, and are not afraid to ask for help in return. Asking for help when we make a mistake or need extra information can be a hard pill to swallow, but it is never a bad idea to ask for assistance when the skills needed to get the job done are out of our domain. Being able to recognize and take responsibility for our mistakes is a mark of good character and is the first step towards personal growth.