What Type of Employee Are You?

I saw a great post on Linkedin recently about the four types of employees you find in (almost) every workplace. It’s a great exercise for supervisors to assess their current teams. But I think it’s an exercise that employees could benefit from as well. Here’s how you can determine if you are a star, student, land mine or not yet gone:

Start by asking yourself what you do for your company that contributes to its success. Are your sales numbers off the charts? Are you a master at building client relationships? If you don’t have a clear idea of what your strengths are, ask a close colleague what they think.

Then, evaluate how you fit in. Do you and your colleagues share similar interests? Do you believe in the same core values as your company? Think big picture. You don’t have to be the most popular guy or gal around the water cooler to align with the culture of the company.

Take some time to reflect.

The Good
Star: If your contribution and cultural responses are an emphatic “yes,” you’re likely a shining star. You lead by example, take pride in your work and are an asset to your team.

Student: If your contributions seem minimal but are growing steadily, you’re likely an apt student. A star has probably taken you under their wing and is cultivating your potential. This is a good position to be in. You can only go up from here.

The Bad
Land Mine: You’re a model employee – on paper. You meet your quota but that’s as far as it goes. Your passion – if you ever had it – is gone. You know it; something is missing. If this is the case, you’re in land mine territory. If it’s a temporary rough patch (i.e. a challenging project, personal hardships) you have the potential to jump into bonafide star status. If it’s more than that (i.e. change in company policy, leadership or direction you wholeheartedly don’t agree with) then it may be time to move on to another organization that shares your priorities.

Not Yet Gone: You’re delivering subpar results and time isn’t making it any better. The sad truth is, your employer probably wants to give you the boot but is hoping you resign before a replacement is found. Look inside yourself and find out why you’ve strayed. Maybe you’ve just lost interest in your career. Or, you may feel like an outsider within your organization. There was a reason you were hired in the first place. So let those qualities shine once again with a new employer.

New Hires
If you’re a hiring manager, just because a candidate isn’t a star, doesn’t mean they are unhirable. Think about your company’s needs and don’t rule out a rising star who would make a great addition to the team.

What do you think? Are you a star, student, land mine or not yet gone? Share your comments with us below.

Pundits, Quit your Gerrymandering: 3 Ways to Win at Office Politics

With midterm elections right around the corner, yard signs, bumper stickers and other paraphernalia are a common sight. You’ll have friends (you know who they are) who will undoubtedly try to convince you to join their party, vote for their candidates and flood your Facebook timeline with posts about making the “right decision”. Nonetheless, after Election Day, we’ll move onto Thanksgiving and then our next holiday of choice – seemingly forgetting all about the political hullabaloo just a few weeks back.

Office politics are a little different. You can’t show your support on a sticker or t-shirt, but you definitely have leaders and allies. A lot of people see office politics as something to avoid, but I believe if you are ethical in your politicking, you can yield great results. Here’s the thing, your office probably has a couple of folks looking to promote their personal agenda, similar to many politicians. But you’ll also find like-minded individuals who are looking to better serve the company and advance their careers, but not at the expense of others. Here are three quick tips that will keep your office politics clean and the mudslinging at bay.

  1. Listen Carefully – Early in my career I received some great advice from my mentor. He urged me to talk less and listen more. Whether you are selling a service to a potential client or working on getting a new policy adopted at your company, listen to the people around you and their needs. If it’s a customer, you can shape your pitch to their requirements. With your colleagues, you can win them over by addressing their issues and concerns in your policy while advocating for your shared cause. Another great thing about good listening is that it’s a talent you can take home.
  2. Don’t Take Sides – This may be one of the hardest things to do in the workplace. Unlike high school where you publicly displayed your allegiance – jocks, nerds, glee club – and wore it like a badge of honor, the office requires you to be a bit more discreet. Work with your colleagues to solve problems in a diplomatic fashion, focusing on the solution and not on the person fighting for it. Take the person out of the equation and you’ll be sure to get great results.
  3. Forget About Winning – Unlike the political race, you may never have a clear winner. You may shape your solution differently after hearing your colleague’s opinion or research. Ultimately, you could be wrong but if you are pliable and willing, everyone will benefit from taking the competition out of office politics so you can craft the best solution.

We’d love to hear about how you handle office politics. Share your tips with us below. One last thing, don’t forget to vote on November 4th! I’ll step off my soapbox now.