Each job comes with its own set of requirements, but there are a few universal things every manager looks for in an employee.
To impress your manager and earn a reputation for excellence, make sure you're delivering these six items.
1. Predictable results.
Results are the number one way managers judge their employees. It seems basic, but I've seen many employees act like it isn't part of the equation.
Get stuff done. Show you can be counted on to deliver. And if you can't complete an assigned task on time, let your manager know as early as possible.
2. Drama-free collaboration.
Managers want employees who play well with others and don't cause interpersonal issues. People conflicts are the last thing managers want to spend their time handling.
We all have that colleague who irritates us, or moments when we're tempted to engage in pointless gossip. Resist, and show your manager that you can contribute to effective teamwork.
3. Spontaneous initiative.
The Greek playwright Euripides said, "The wisest men follow their own direction." A manager--a good one, anyway--is there to guide and support your work, not give you directions about exactly what to do and how to do it.
Managers want employees who show initiative and don't have to be told exactly what to do every time. This not only frees up the manager's time but also surfaces fresh ideas from employees. Take action without being asked. Seize opportunities in the moment.
4. Truth telling.
Managers want employees who are candid about the issues they see in the organization. If you see a problem, speak up. Your manager will then have a chance to solve the issue before it becomes a real problem.
No manager wants a good employee to leave over a problem the manager didn't even know existed, or to find out about a giant roadblock and then learn that the entire team knew about it for months.
Managers want employees who aren't there just to collect a paycheck. Enthusiasm, passion, engagement, positivity--it doesn't matter what you call it, managers want employees to show it in the workplace.
According to Gallup, about two-thirds of your colleagues probably aren't engaged at work, so you can really set yourself apart here.
6. Continuous growth.
Managers want employees who treat their job as part of a career. Professional employees are always trying to improve their skills and increase their value, while serving as role models for others in the field.
It's your manager's responsibility to help you grow as a professional, but they can't do it all for you. Show that you're ready and willing to take your career into your own hands.