8 Qualities of a Good Employee Every Manager Wants in their Workforce

The 8 top qualities of a good employee every manager wants in their organization. But is that all a manager wants?

People Strategy

Leen Sawalha

VP Product & Growth

Tuesday, April 07, 2015


If you asked 100 managers what the qualities of a good employee are, and put all the responses in a list, not only would you get a list of 1000 qualities, but you would also notice that many of them are contradictory. The reason for that is simple; different managers, organizations, and functions require different qualities of a good employee.

But what if we tried to create a list of qualities that are essential to all employees, regardless of contextual variances? This is my purpose for this article! So let’s get to it, shall we?

Qualities of a good employee every manager wants:

#1 Be Accountable

It doesn’t matter who you are, what you do, or who you work with, every manager wants their employees to be accountable. They want them to be responsible for their tasks, and to be accountable for all that they do and don’t achieve.

#2 Have Good Interpersonal Skills

Effective interpersonal skills are crucial for any employee. Period. If you want to be effective and efficient, you need to have good listening and communication skills to be able to develop relationships that can promote your objectives. Good interpersonal skills allow you to get what you want, whenever you want, wherever you need it from.

#3 Resourcefulness

I think we can all agree that, as a manager, when you give your employee a task to do, you want it to get done and get done well. There’s a reason you delegate tasks to your employees; you want the job to be completed without having to worry about it. What you don’t want is having that employee ask you a million questions! This is why being resourceful is one of the most important qualities of a good employee.

#4 Openness to sharing ideas and experiences

Two brains are better than one – it’s as simple as that! A great quality of an employee is their willingness to open up and share their ideas and experiences. After all, it’s our past experiences that have taught us all we know, and if your employees are willing to share that knowledge then you can be sure everyone is benefiting.

#5 Motivated

Yes, I admit, this is one of the more obvious qualities of a good employee, but it’s important and worth mentioning nonetheless. But, instead of having me tell you why motivation is a good quality, I’m going to talk a little about how to promote and maintain it.

In reality, every person is, or can be, motivated. The difference is that different people are motivated by different things. Some are motivated by money, competition, and status, while others are motivated by teamwork, pleasant work environments, and security.

There’s nothing wrong with either motivations, but they are different nonetheless. So whether you’re hiring, promoting, or building a new team, make sure you assess your employees’ motivation and be sure you can offer them the circumstances they need.

#6 Self-awareness

Self-awareness is one of those qualities that you would rarely ever think of, but once mentioned to you, you realize that they are absolutely crucial! It is a great quality for an employee to have because it means that not only do they understand who they are and where their strengths lie, but they also understand their limitations. They know what they can and can’t do, and make a conscious effort to place themselves in situations which they know are most beneficial to achieving the goal.

Those who are self-aware also tend to have a certain level of emotional intelligence which guides their thinking and behaviour. Self-awareness and emotional intelligence are amazing qualities, but also rare ones. Don’t worry, though, because you can develop them in your employees (but only if you really know how they’re built!).

#7 Action-oriented

Managers want things to get done. Plain and simple. (And yes, that is all i’m saying about this!)

#8 Integrity

One of the most valued qualities of a good employee; integrity. Managers have a lot on their plates, all the time, and if they had employees who are honest and trustworthy, then that’s just one less thing to worry about.

And it’s not just about being busy, there are serious, serious consequences that can arise from having dishonest employees. If you have employees with integrity, then you’re going to be able to sleep peacefully at night, knowing that there will be no funny-business going around!

What about the other qualities of a good employee?

I know what you’re thinking. What about innovation? Being organized? Being proactive? What about the hundreds of other qualities every good employee should have?!

Well, whether we like it or not, we won’t all agree on a complete and comprehensive list. That is because, as I mentioned before, different organizations, functions, and managers require different things from their employees. You might think that innovation is an integral aspect of a good employee, but you don’t want your accountant trying out new stuff with your balance sheets, would you?

What about organization? Sure, it’s a great quality to have, but is it essential for every organization? Believe it or not, being too organized can be just as bad as not being organized at all. If you’re working at a startup that requires everyone to wear 5 different hats, multitask, and change priorities without notice; then being organized is not a quality you will be basing your hiring decision on!

But, surely, being proactive should be on the list, right? It is easy to see why some companies value proactivity more than others, but there are some managers that are just too skeptical and like to be in control at all times. There are also some managers that like to hear their employees’ ideas, but also want to consult with the rest of the team before a members just runs offs and tries new things.

What I’m trying to say is that it all depends. You might understand the differences between functions and organizations, but knowing employees and managerial styles is a whole different ballgame. Get this information, however, and the possibilities are endless! Evaluate your employeesevaluate your managers, and determine which qualities are the best for YOU!

What do you think of the list? Are there any other qualities of a good employee you think are important? Share them in the comments below!

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