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Easy Tips To Become A Better Employee

Updated on May 25, 2013

Four Ways To Succeed At Work

Whether you're starting your first job or you've been working for 20+ years, I'm writing this lens to help you become a better employee. We all strive to become better at what we do. When it comes to your career, being better means more money, promotions, and your boss will have nothing but good things to say about you. If youâre looking to be the "Employee of the Month, Quarter, or Year", here are four easy tips that will give you a great starting point. I call them the Four Râs of Success.

The Four R's of Success

Today's job market is very competitive. It's always going to be like that regardless of your career. Resumes and education can only get you so far. Employers are looking for people that have the qualities they can depend on. Here's what they're looking for.

  1. Right Place
  2. Right Time
  3. Right Uniform
  4. Right Attitude

Don't Get Lost!

The First R : Right Place

Being at you work station is the only way you're going to get things done. You can't be a productive member of the team when you don't show up or just disappear. No employer is going to tolerate that kind of behavior. If you're scheduled to be there, then be there. It's that simple.

You're supervisors do not want to play hide and seek with you. It leaves a bad taste in their mouth when they come looking for you. The fastest way to get fired is to not show up.

We all have things that happen in our lives that may affect our jobs. Your company should have a policy for getting days off that you need, but don't take advantage of it too often. Remember every day you take off is one more reason for your boss to think you have more important things to do than work. They have a job to accomplish and hired you to help them get it done. When you're not there you become a non productive asset to the company and they will eventually need to fix that problem.

Everyone gets sick. It's a fact of life. Having a mild headache or just simple allergies can be a pain, but your boss may not see it as being a good enough of excuse to miss work. More serious and contagious illnesses are another story. If you work in an environment where you constantly have to be sanitary, such as a medical facility, food service, or work closely with other people, you probably don't want to show up with an illness that could spread to other people. Your boss probably doesn't want you to be spreading the flu around the work place either. It would cause more harm than good to productivity if everyone started getting sick. If you have a serious illness or injury, be sure to see a doctor and get a doctor's excuse for your employer.

Emergencies happen that are beyond our control. Most employers have their definition of emergencies like death of immediate family, car accidents, family emergencies like house fire or sick children that need your attention and other disasters that you need to deal with. Supervisors are humans too they will understand. All they may want is verification of the emergency and to know when you'll be able to return to work.

Taking breaks at work are sometimes required by law and sometimes they are a privilege your employer rewards your hard work with. Don't take advantage of it. Take your break when you're allowed. Not when you feel like it.

The bottom line is if you must miss work, do it by company policies. If you just need a day off for whatever reason, just talk to your boss and see if you can get it scheduled off. If you're always where you need to be, your supervisors will notice and think to themselves, "Hey, this employee is pretty reliable and always there where I need them." That's a gold star for you in the future!

This R goes right along with the second R: Right Time.

Timing is Everything!

The Second R: Right Time

Being at the right place is great, but being at the right place at the wrong time is disaster! If your supervisor can't rely on you being on time; then they will find someone they can. I have always been told if you're on time, you're late. It's always better to be somewhere a few minutes before you're supposed to. Being late is just not an option. Things happen and your boss may need you to help with something earlier than expected. If you're given a certain time to accomplish a task, then do it by that time. Better yet try to have it done before the deadline.

I know that sometimes life throws us curve balls. I've been late to work before and 99% of the people I know have too. The right thing to do in this situation is to let you supervisor know as soon as you realize that you're going to be late. That simple phone call explaining why you're late and giving your boss a time when you can be there the fastest is always best. Sure, they might be upset with you, but they will also consider the fact that you knew you were going to be late and was responsible enough to let them know. If this is just a rare occasion your boss may just let it slide with a warning, but if you show up late too often it could mean it's time to find another job.

Attendance is very important when it comes to being a good employee. It shows how responsible you are. Responsibility leads to reliability and your boss may start giving you more rewarding tasks and brownie points for favorable actions.

Dress to Impress!

The Third R: Right Uniform

Regardless if your company has uniforms or a dress code, you always got to look sharp. As an employee, you represent the company. Nobody wants to see you looking like a bum or like you just crawled out of bed. You need to dress like you're proud to be there. Keep your shirts clean and if possible, pressed. Most businesses had dress codes or uniform standards. No matter what, they want you to look professional and represent the company in a way that they want.

This is where many people screw up, and it's always the same excuses. At my job we have uniforms and appearance standards. All employees must have their shirts cleaned and pressed, shoes must be clean and polished, and wear the uniform black pants with black socks. We have a very simple uniform, but still hard for some to wear it correctly. I personally iron my shirts every day before work. It only takes around 5 minutes of my time. I hear the same excuses every day. "I don't have time before work to iron my shirt", "I forgot to iron it" or "I grabbed the wrong shirt". I don't want to hear excuses and neither does your boss. I absolutely hate hearing the "I don't have time" excuse. Most of our employees are part time and the schedule is posted several days before the next week begins. I usually ask them, "Did you know you worked today? What did you do on your day off?" 9 times out of 10 I don't get a good answer. And I reply with "you didn't have 5 minutes of time to spare while you were waiting for your friends to hangout? Instead you decided to get on Facebook or twitter or watch TV?"

The bottom line is next to attendance, you appearance is the first thing that your boss is going to notice about you. If you don't care about your job then by all means dress sloppy. I bet you manager might not say anything, but they notice it. Just like they noticed you were late because of the second flat tire you had in the past week.

How easy is it to just look good? It's very easy. Looking good will make you stand out among your peers. When it comes time for that promotion or raise you've been looking for, remember the competition I mentioned before. You want your employer to say "Here I have an employee who's always where I need them to be, when I need them to be and they sure do look like they're proud to be here" What you don't want to have them think is, "Wow he's late again and he looks like he was up all night wearing his uniform to a rodeo".

On a side note to go along with appearance is hygiene. Don't be the smelly or "unclean" employee. If you're a guy be clean shaven if required. I know I don't want to talk to an employee who looks and smells like they slept in a barn the night before work.

Being clean and looking good will set the stage for R #4: Right Attitude. You've gone this far to be at work on time and looking good, now you should feel pretty good about yourself. Let your attitude show it!

Be A Shining Star, Not a Dim Glow

The Final R: Right Attitude

You were on time to work today and you look great and ready for work, so what's the next thing you need to do to shine even brighter? I'll give you a hint: Get your attitude right! Come to work like you want to be there and enjoy every minute of it. Be a go getter. Be productive and proactive. Use some initiative. Show your boss that you'll do anything to get the job done right. You motivation will impact your performance and be contagious to everyone around you. Your coworkers might not be off to a good start, but if they see you doing your job at a high level they may be inclined to do the same, your boss will definitely notice it.

Whatever you do don't come to work dreading it. A bad vibe is even more contagious. You will bring everyone around you down. Even the smallest employee has an impact on company morale. Don't be the coworker everyone hates to work with. Think about what happens to a light bulb as it starts to go out, it become dimmer. You don't want to be that dim glow because when the time comes your boss will replace that dim bulb with one that will shine bright.

A bad attitude will kill all motivation in the work place. Performance and morale will drop and your employer won't tolerate that. They will be losing money instead of making it. Stay motivated and show it. Having a good attitude will even help make the time pass by.

The Final Outcome!

Success is Closer than Before!

The bottom line should be very clear by now. By just simply following these steps you will become a more responsible, reliable and productive employee that your company can always depend on. Try doing all these things for one week at work and see if you don't enjoy your job more and I bet that your boss will even warm up to you a bit more. Maybe when the next promotion or raise comes around, you might just be a good candidate for it!

What's Your Opinion

Which of these is the most important to you?

Let's recap

The for R's are very simple things you can do to just simply better you work performance and get noticed. So remember them.

  • Right Place
  • Right Time
  • Right Uniform
  • Right Attitude

Some tools for your toolbox of knowledge

BIC Round Stic Xtra Life Ballpoint Pen, Medium Point (1.0mm), Black, 60-Count
BIC Round Stic Xtra Life Ballpoint Pen, Medium Point (1.0mm), Black, 60-Count

You need something to write your notes down with! and Amazon has a great price

Mead Spiral Notebook, College Ruled, 1 Subject, 100 Sheets, Assorted Colors (06622)
Mead Spiral Notebook, College Ruled, 1 Subject, 100 Sheets, Assorted Colors (06622)

Take some notes! You can't remember everything so having a notepad to write them down can help you become a better employee.

The One Minute Manager
The One Minute Manager

Great book with lots of valuable information for all the Boss' put there! Get on today to make yourself a better employer!


Lens Credits

I didn't come up with the Four R's and I'm not sure who did. I first heard them early in my military career. One of the best NCO's I have ever known pulled my platoon aside and explained them to us. He wanted us all to succeed in life and since then I have applied them to everything I do. I just want to say Thanks to that Staff Sergeant.

As for the images, well I just have many random pictures on my computer. I found some that seemed to fit this lens very well. I don't know who took them, but I want to say thanks for taking them!

share your success tips!

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    • kswat07 profile imageAUTHOR


      5 years ago

      @Gaby81: Those are also great tips! Thanks for stopping by :)

    • Gaby81 profile image


      5 years ago

      First welcome on Squidoo! Some tips hmm...listening to instructions, taking responsibility, taking initiative and others :) I invite you to check some of my lenses.


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