Be a Better Employee… INSTANTLY!

English: emperform

We all want to improve—to be better parents, spouses or friends.

There has always been a deep-seated need to rise above our current life situation. This drive is something hard-wired in our DNA and (for the history of humanity) has fueled success in business, relationships and life.

Every employee—from the mail room to the boardroom—wants to better themselves, but are often held back from acting on this primal need.


One reason could be that improvement is thought to be hard work. Everyone wants to improve, but relatively few want to do the heavy lifting to actually make it happen.

For those afraid that self-improvement is too daunting a task, there is an answer!

Unlike weight loss and awesome six-pack abs, there is a way to become a better employee immediately.

From Dr. Dean Burke, ten ways to improve yourself at work—INSTANTLY!

  1. Show up with a smile!

Show up with a smile! Show up with a smile! A sense of (appropriate) humor will get you a corner office or promotion quicker than a snark or cynic.

  1. Don’t be the first out the door!

No, I’m not “just sayin” you have to be a workaholic with no family life. But don’t let your mind/focus beat you home.

  1. Don’t bring your problems to work.

And if you do… remember #1! Fake it with a smile the first hour and you’ll get your mind where it ought to be.

  1. Compliment.

Praise the people one step below you, your equals, and those people one step above you-any time it’s appropriate. Practice it on little things until it becomes automatic. If you get razzed about it, that probably means you are not doing it right. Learn your coworkers’ hobbies, their family issues and what makes them tick.

  1. Never criticize.

Avoid being critical those same people unless it’s in private, and done in a “What do you think you might have done differently?” method rather than, “What the hell were you thinking, dumb-ass?” method.

  1. Never be satisfied…

… with knowledge of a subject. Those who don’t continue to learn are going backwards. If you aren’t reading journals in your field, going to conferences — even on your own dime –you’ll soon be the old guy in the same job you have now. Or out on the street…

  1. Learn about areas outside your focus.

If you’re a new grad, don’t just work on your own project; see how your manager deals with staff, clients, and bosses. See what works and what doesn’t.

Use those skills with your co-workers. If you’re an engineer, see how the sales department closes the deal. Use that knowledge to ask for a raise or get that special project you’ve been eyeing.

  1. Always review your email before you hit send.

Forwards and replies are like snakes in the grass waiting to strike! A respected mentor of mine still gets red in the face remembering one such mistake. Never send an email when you are angry or upset. If you have something controversial to discuss…

Pick. Up. The. PHONE, dammit!

E-mails are forever! People have trouble understanding moods when reading-they may miss your sarcasm and get the wrong message.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: If you use Gmail, click under “labs” and add “Undo Send” to your account. It saves me every single day!)

  1. Be on time (That’s French for early) and ready to work.
  2. Deliver before deadlines and without reminders.

Read the entire article—10 Tips to Be a Better Employee—at


Published by @philammann

Put. That coffee. Down. Writer/editor/whatever it takes. @margaretj13 is my (much) better half. Website: Email: Twitter: @PhilAmmann

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