Cutting-Edge Leadership

The best in current leadership research and theory, from cultivating charisma to transforming your organization

Test Your Employability. What Kind of Employee Are You?

What is an exemplary employee? What does it take to be one?

Imagine that you are hiring and you want to get the best possible employee. Or, imagine that you are on the job market. What qualities and characteristics make the very best employees?

The very best employees go well beyond their job descriptions and give that extra effort and dedication that makes them exemplary. Researchers have termed these sorts of actions, Organizational Citizenship Behaviors (OCBs). There are a variety of areas in which an employee can go above and beyond the call of duty. Here are some of them and some questions to determine if you (or someone else) are (is) an exemplary employee

Helping others. One category is helping fellow employees, or helping out to assist the department or organization in some important way.

Have you:

Helped out coworkers by teaching or mentoring them?

Supported a co-worker who was going through a personal crisis?

Gone out of your way to assist a coworker (e.g., given a ride, lent money, etc.)?

Demonstrating Loyalty. This includes behaviors that help the image of your organization, or helps the organization to achieve an important goal.

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Have you:

Offered suggestions on how to improve procedures or work systems?

Recruited a new worker to apply for a job at your organization?

Praised your organization to friends and others as a great workplace?

Going beyond job description. This includes behaviors that you are not compensated for, or work that you don’t really have to do, but you want to do it in order to help the organization.

Have you:

Stayed late (without compensation) to meet a deadline or get work done?

Acquired a new skill because you knew it would help you do the job better?

Done volunteer work either for the organization, or representing the organization in the community?

If you answered “yes” to most of these questions, you are most likely an exemplary employee – the kind of worker that your company does, or should, value.

What are some of the other indicators or Exemplary Employees? What have you seen in your workplace? I’d love to hear from you.


Follow me on Twitter:!/ronriggio

Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College.


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