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Four Habits of Successful Employees

August 12, 2015

Ever wonder what separates the best from the rest? The best are more productive. Ever wonder why? Here are four habits of successful employees:

1. Reward themselves with work they enjoy: People approach tasks more easily and complete the tasks faster and better on the work that interests them. Essentially people do what they like. Great employees look at their schedule and strategically place motivating tasks after less motivating tasks as a reward or something to work towards.

Other successful employees use Temptation Bundling. The idea of tying together two different activities – one that you should complete, but may avoid and another that you desire doing, but may not be productive. Essentially, the idea is to take something you crave or tempts you and combine it with something else to give you a push.

2. Structure work around their special skillset and strengths: Generally employees are more likely to do tasks that they see as challenging their strengths. People who are good with numbers tend to work on tasks that challenge that ability. People whose strengths lend to collaborating with others tend to work on tasks that pull from that skillset. Great employees approach work in ways that play to their skillsets and strengths.

3. Know the benefits of certain tasks: A great deal of what successful employees choose to work on is based on consequences. Great employees understand what tasks offer benefits when completing them in a certain time frame and manner and the consequences of not doing so. When employees pay particular attention to the consequences, it makes prioritizing a real value and motivates and helps them see the work as a "means" to an "end." Successful employees use benefits and consequences to rationalize or justify stomaching something they do not enjoy or not avoid something.

4. Reflection and self-awareness: Successful employees ask themselves three questions each day:

  • What did I do well?
  • What could I have done better?
  • How will I learn from these experiences and change the way I work to do better?

Great employees are highly self-aware. That self-awareness allows them to better plan, negotiate deadlines, play to their strengths, avoid obstacles, deal with politics, etc.

Each of these habits are based on research by Rossier School of Education University of Southern California, The Wharton School of University of Pennsylvania, and several Emotional Intelligence research studies.

What other habits of successful employees have you seen?