16 things the best employees do every day

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Are you a top employee at your organization?
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Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/Flickr

If you’re being honest with yourself, you probably have a decent sense of how you’re doing at work.

If you’re struggling, your boss has likely already let you know. If you’re cruising, maybe you sense that things are going fine (but not spectacularly).

Let’s say you’re not floundering and you’re not just getting by. How can you tell that you’re soaring? That you’re not only doing well, but you’re one of the organization’s top employees? It can be difficult to determine whether or not you’re one of the best employees.

However, there are several signs that indicate that you are indeed an invaluable worker. It’s important to recognize your work. Additionally, if you’re one of those people who could use a boost at work these days, it’s important to learn from the best employees.

Here’s a list of habits that the best employees share that make them stand apart:


You’re a delight to work with

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Strelka Institute for Media, Architecture and Design/Flickr

It never hurts to be liked in the office. This also probably means that you’re a great fit for the culture of your organization.

If you’re clicking with your coworkers and bosses each and every day, that’s definitely a good sign.


You keep it real

Good bosses love workers with integrity. You’re forthright with your boss and colleagues. You speak frankly and candidly. Most importantly, you don’t stoop to using nefarious means to get ahead.

In organizations with toxic cultures, honesty may be overlooked – it might even get you in trouble. But when you’re in a company with a strong, ethical grounding, honesty tends to pay off in the long run.

That’s why the best employees tackle daily challenges with integrity in mind.


You take steps to improve yourself

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Broadwaycom/Youtube

In Lin-Manuel Miranda’s smash Broadway hit “Hamilton,” the titular Founding Father ascends to great heights by virtue of never being satisfied. (This drive also gets him into a bit of trouble, but let’s just ignore that for now.)

At a certain point, most of us settle for good enough. Truly stellar employees are never quite content. They’re constantly learning new things, trying new approaches, and striving to work smarter. They’re a bit restless and always seeking to improve themselves. Every single day, they’re seeking new knowledge and skills to benefit their work performance.


You own up to any mistakes

Again, in a workplace without integrity, doing this might be a bit of a disadvantage. But if you’ve got a decent boss, holding yourself accountable and taking on responsibility will likely go over well.

No one likes to hear a ton of excuses. If you’re in the habit of discussing both your successes and your shortfalls on a regular basis, that’s definitely a good indication of your work ethic.


You take deadlines seriously

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Mark Hillary/Flickr

You’re like clockwork. You say you’re going to do something, and you do it right every time. You’re trustworthy and dependable, which makes you invaluable on important projects.

The fact of the matter is, the best employees get stuff done when it needs to get done. They don’t sit on projects forever like perfectionists, and they don’t dawdle like procrastinators. They’re always punctual about their work.


You avoid toxic office politics

In corporate America, no one is 100% immune to office politics. Learning to navigate your workplace is an important part of succeeding at your job. (Unfortunately, too often this takes precedence over actually being good at your job.)

However, if you’re one of those people who can successfully sail through potentially contentious workplace situations without ever getting mired in the drama, that’s a good sign. The best employees don’t allow themselves to be tarnished by petty office-wide squabbles.


You take action

You don’t sit around waiting to be told what to do. This allows you to seize each and every day.


You make your ideas heard

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Nationaal Archief/Flickr

Effective communicators make for dream employees. You don’t bottle things up, and you express yourself clearly. That’s an important skill.


You get things done

Ambition and imagination are nothing without perseverance. You might have plenty of great ideas and plans, but if you don’t finish any projects, you’ll never be a standout worker.

Managers love people who communicate what they intend to do – and then actually go out and do it.


You’re always conscientious

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Capture The Uncapturable/Flickr

As Business Insider previously reported, being nice is good, but it won’t always get you ahead in the workplace. Employees who get noticed tend to be conscientious – characterized by being hardworking, persevering, orderly, and hungry for achievement.

Coming into work every day with a positive, conscientious attitude will allow you to establish yourself as a model employee.


You make a plan

Having a plan is a great way to save a lot of waste time and effort. Decent employees handle their workloads without having any real overarching goals. The best employees write down their goals and take steps to work toward them each and every day.


You can deal with pressure

Some jobs are more stressful than others, but any kind of job is going to have its particularly trying moments. These times of trouble can determine which employees are great, and which ones are just okay. Every day, you should be prepared to handle stressful situations – that way, when one strikes, you won’t freeze up.


You’re not shy about your success

You definitely don’t want to sound like a braggart. However, if you’re comfortable talking about the positive things you’ve done for the organization, that’s a good thing. The best managers are savvy enough to know the difference between boasting, and expressing the value they’ve brought to the role.


You not hypercompetitive

You’re competitive, but you never take it too far. That’s because the best employees realize that they accomplish more by competing with themselves than with their coworkers.


You can identify — and solve — problems

Some people point out flaws without offering up any solutions. Others dream about fixing problems, but can’t identify any issues to tackle. The best employees do both every day, making them crucial to the organization’s success.


You manage yourself

Here’s probably the most important trait that defines the best workers – they almost don’t need a boss. They’re proactive enough to manage themselves, which in turn frees up their boss. Great employees are proactive and diligent enough to keep themselves on track every single day.