8 Steps to Become an “Easy to Manage” Employee

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.

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Dan Lovejoy

Dan Lovejoy is a User Interface & Experience Architect at OG&E and a self-admitted adorable curmudgeon. The opinions here are his own and not his employer — in case you were wondering.

Reader Interactions


  1. Jan says

    I agree with every one of these points.it is also helpful for every person in the company to keep the goal of the entire company in mind. If you focus on yourself and your own job, you might forget that without the customer, you have no job. In most offices, everything is customer (profit) driven. Act accordingly.

  2. Giri M says

    Good one, except point 4 to be meek. I don’t agree my be good for few but then I would not advice anyone with my 20 years of corporate life…

    Best wishes

  3. Christine Casey says

    Interesting points Dan. I agree with honesty, not complaining, taking ownership, working hard, and an employee who pays attention to details as traits of a good employee. I have found easy to manage employees do a good job of anticipating the needs of the department and management, are aligned with the department, engaged in their work, and self-starters with a can do attitude.

    You might enjoy my blog post this week related to being a good citizen at work.



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