You can receive no higher praise in a performance review than being called “easy to manage.” But what does it mean to be an easy to manage employee? Part of it is just being a decent human being and treating everyone with kindness and dignity. But what specific steps can you take to be an employee that is easy to manage? Here are eight quick tips to help you get that assessment on your next review.
How to Become an “Easy to Manage” employee!
1.) Be scrupulously honest
Never give a boss any reason to suspect anything you say or do is the least bit dishonest or unethical. Always tell everything you know about a situation, never holding back details or lying by omission.
2.) Fly above the fray
If you aren’t above petty disagreements and gossip, you should be. Don’t give the time of day to anyone who wants to gossip or constantly complain about work. You can turn gossip around with a “positive office gossip” strategy. In fact, all of the tips in my article “Winning at Office Politics” will make you easier to manage.
3.) Stop complaining
Sure, you’re overworked. Sure, you don’t have enough resources. Everyone who is any good at their job is overworked. Nobody has all the resources they need. Don’t waste your bosses’ time with general complaints unless you have a specific solution and you’re willing to work even harder to solve the problem.
4.) Be meek
This isn’t a word you hear outside of the bible these days, but this long-overlooked quality will help you be a better person and a better employee. It means that you don’t insist on your own rights to the exclusion of all else. You can’t be a doormat, but you can be reasonable. If a coworker gets a nicer computer, don’t complain about your computer. If a co-worker’s values or life choices make you uncomfortable, don’t make an issue of them unless they are creating a hostile work environment. (For example, a co-worker that displays mottos or imagery that you dislike in her cube, or uses language that you find upsetting, or talks about political views or activities that conflict with your values.) Don’t be the person that always takes offense. There is no special talent in taking offense.
Please note: Let me be perfectly clear. I am NOT suggesting that you tolerate any kind of bullying or harassment, ever, no matter how minor. Nip that crap in the bud. That IS what your boss gets paid for.
5.) Take ownership
Taking ownership of problems and opportunities means bringing the solution when you bring the problem. Part of taking ownership is just being aware of what’s going on in your division. What’s falling behind? Where are there problems? What within your job responsibilities can you do to fix the problem? Think of specific ways you can offer to help when problems arise, and actively pursue solutions.
6.) Offer to help
If your boss or coworkers are overwhelmed with work, find out how you can help. Taking over some of that work can help your boss a lot, and it can help your career. Then you’ll have a bigger stake in the work. And you’re a lot less likely to be laid off if the boss can always count on you to pick up the slack. Anticipate your boss’s needs and be ready before he or she asks for help.
7.) Sweat the small stuff
This is my weakest area. I am intensely focused on the details of my work and I have no patience for the trivia of recording time, filing expenses, and other ancillary details. But my boss is paid to take care of more important things than my timesheet. Spend a little time each day taking care of the little things that your boss reminds you about regularly. Make it a goal to take care of the small stuff so your boss doesn’t have to.
8.) Work hard
This one is kind of obvious, I suppose. You don’t have to work 50, 60, or 70 hours a week to be “easy to manage.” In fact, overwork can make you a liability instead of an asset. But be flexible with your schedule when you can. If your boss is always cutitng you slack on doctor’s appointments and kids’ concerts, don’t Fred Flinstone him or her when you’re needed most. Don’t start packing up at 4:50 if everyone is frantically trying to hit a deadline. And even if you never work late, make sure that the 40 hours you put in are a productive 40 hours.
Share Your Opinions!
I’m sure I’ve missed some great ideas here. I’m really interested in what you have to say.
Managers, what makes an employee “easy to manage?”
Worker bees, what have you done to make yourself easier to manage?
Let me know in the comments.