In a recent blog post, I discussed the characteristics of good bosses and bad bosses (see Good Boss, Bad Boss), primarily from an employee’s perspective. Since turnabout is fair play, it is only fair to discuss the characteristics of good and bad employees, from both a boss’ perspective, and from fellow employees’ perspectives. So let’s look at a variety of important employee attributes, and for each, the notable characteristics shown by good employees and bad employees associated with these attributes.
[It may also be useful in this regard to take a look at my Herding Cats series of blog posts. These examine a wide variety of employee personality types. [See Herding Cats: The Art of "Managing" Knowledge Workers, Herding Cats 2: Problem Child & Elitist Bastard, Herding Cats 3: Boss Wannabe & Social Butterfly, Herding Cats 4: "Wally" & Prima Donna, Herding Cats 5: Solid Citizen, Valued Expert & Rising Star, and Herding Cats 6: Complainer/Whiner, Eternal Optimist, Chesire Cat, Loner, Credit Taker/Thief & A$$hole]
A good employee has the capability to carry out assigned jobs and to complete them satisfactorily and completely.
A bad employee does not have this capability, and won’t inform his boss of this fact. This wastes time to properly complete the activity, and requires additional competent people to be assigned, adversely affecting their assigned tasks. Therefore, a bad employee affects not only themselves, but others as well, jeopardizing the project.
• Intellectual Curiosity
A good employee has the intellectual curiosity to examine the job assigned, identify the work required, and to go beyond that to identify potential problems or issues that need to be addressed by them or others to properly and successfully complete the job. This employee proactively analyzes not only the job at hand, but helps to address observations or concerns beyond his/her immediate needs.
A bad employee looks solely at the job assigned, doesn’t think about the issues it may raise or its impact on himself or others. This person may carry out the job assigned, but the impact on others or on the overall project may cause significant problems that could have been addressed much earlier and more effectively.