Being the best employee you can possibly be involves more than just working hard. That, of course, is valuable, but there are other skills worth developing to make yourself a better worker.
These are broad skills that apply across every field of work. These may not be natural abilities for many people, but they are ones anyone can develop by slowing down, being thoughtful, and taking the time to make smart decisions.
No matter how smart you are or how well you know your job, it's important to listen to other people. They may offer a different approach, a better idea, or something else you have never thought of. It's also possible that listening results in hearing terrible ideas or bad advice, but it's still important to hear everything that's being said.
Listening isn't just important when it comes to actual work tasks. You should also hear what your co-workers are saying about their personal lives or whatever else they might be talking about. That has nothing to do with work, but showing people you care about what they say makes you a better co-worker, and that pays off in many ways.
You might be the greatest thing ever. It's possible that you're fabulous at your job and that everyone universally accepts it. Even if that's true, it's better to be humble and share credit liberally.
If you're actually that great, your co-workers and bosses likely already know it. There's no reason to toot your own horn, and it's much better to be generous in sharing credit while downplaying your own role.
Be willing to work with others both as the lead and while working under other people. That sounds easy, but for many people, it's harder than you might imagine. Being a good partner involves a heavy dose of the humility mentioned above, but it's about more than that. Partnership is a willingness to be part of a team and do whatever is needed.
Sometimes that might mean being the person who makes coffee and takes out the trash. In other scenarios, partnership may mean taking on extra work or putting in more hours because your skills fit what's needed. Being a good partner is about a willingness to do what's needed and taking on whatever roles help the team achieve its goals.
Being a leader isn't just about being in charge. Instead, true leadership is about a willingness to do whatever is needed. Leaders are the first ones in the office and the last ones to leave. Leaders take on tasks that other people avoid, and they set an example with their behavior.
True leaders become bosses because their actions make it obvious that they should be in charge. That may take time, and in some cases, it might not be noticed by the big boss. But if you show true leadership, your co-workers will respond.
Be the best you can
These aren't skills like learning a new language or gaining a technical certification. These are ways to improve yourself that apply in areas beyond work. If you improve in the four areas above, you will be a better employee. You will also be a better person -- and that's more valuable than gaining a skill that helps only at the office.
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