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Stepping up from good employee to great employee

Why is it that "good employees" don't seem to get much recognition from their companies? It's because "good is the enemy of great", says Jim Collins, the author of the famous management book Good to Great.

If you want to be recognised you need to become a "great employee". Here are six tips on how to achieve this:

1. Deliver "Wow" work consistently to the right stakeholders.
2. Coordinate well with others.
3. Communicate effectively.
4. Act quickly on feedback.
5. Learn new things.
6. Influence and inspire others.

Let's look at each one in more detail:

1. Deliver "Wow" work: What is "Wow" work? Wow work has these characteristics:

- Before deadline. "Wow, this is faster than I thought."
- Reasonable price. "Wow, this is a good deal."
- Highest quality. "Wow, nobody has done it at this level of quality."
- Consistency. "Wow, you always do this."
- Don't think that your only stakeholder is your direct supervisor. Your great work will be input for your boss, and possibly your boss's boss. Imagine that your great work was part of an important report to the CEO. Imagine the CEO asking, "Wow, who did this analysis? It's very good." You also have to consider is the external customer. Imagine the customer asking, "Wow, who did this part? It's great."

2. Coordinate well with others: If you want to be a great coordinator, you need to understand others' goals, needs and motivations. How do you know?

The goals: Learn more about the vision, mission, values, strategies and business goals of other departments. You can find from resources such as a website, annual report, newsletter or internal memo. How many friends do you have in other departments? How often do you get together with them? Once you know more about their goals, ask yourself, how can you use your strengths to enable them to reach their goals as well as they can?

Need and motivation have more to do with each individual. Learn to observe other people individually. If you become friendly with them, you can learn more from socialising at functions. Don't be a lone wolf..

3. Communicate effectively: Communicate the right information, to the right person, at the right time, with the right frequency and the right quantity. You can learn more from my previous columns. This column's goal, after all, is to bridge the gap in human communication.

4. Act quickly on feedback: This is especially important for negative feedback. If you did something wrong and someone told you, thank them, and then act quickly. Showing initiative to take responsibility no matter who or what caused the problem is something a professional and mature employee does. Don't try to find someone to blame or try to make excuses for your own shortcomings. When a problem occurs, management wants to see who will take the initiative to make things right.

Most problems are not solved overnight. It's imperative for you to communicate the progress of your actions to the people involved. Don't wait until it is solved. This is part of effective communication. Keep people in the loop so they know what actions you're taking.

Once you've solved the problem, document it. Make it public knowledge by sharing details so that the next time a similar situation arises, people will not make the same mistake. When went wrong? How can we prevent it in the future? If it happens in the future, how can we solve it better?

Some people might be afraid that sharing such admissions amounts to losing face. Great employees look at it as an opportunity to share knowledge. It's part of knowledge management.

5. Learn new things: This is related to the organisational change. Organisations evolve. We cannot maintain the status quo. Great employees know that change is inevitable. Hence, they are always learning what's going on in other countries, other industries, with competitors and customers.

Once you are aware of the winds of change, you anticipate that one day your company will need to change. Instead of taking a wait and see approach, take initiative to introduce the change. Whenever you learn more about change in other places, share it with others.

6. Influence and inspire others: The great employee always takes initiative. Once you introduce something new, you will inspire someone to follow you.

On the other hand, you will face some people who want to stay in their comfort zone. Hence, you need to influence them to join the bandwagon. The more you're able to influence people, the better you are at leadership skills.

Practise these six tips, and you will soon become a great employee.

Kriengsak Niratpattanasai provides executive coaching in leadership and diversity management under the brand TheCoach. He can be reached at Daily inspirational quotations can be found on his Facebook fan page: Previous articles are archived at