Sunday, January 6, 2008

I Want Your Input!

I had conversation with my parents today about the most important on-the-job skills that make an employee a great asset for a company—meaning: What traits, characteristics, skills, etc, make up the best employees? How do you keep your job during rough times? What skills and attributes are most sought after by employers? How do you know if you’re doing a good job? Etc.

As a college instructor of Business Management and Accounting, my dad started a new class this semester that will get his students internships at various local businesses. We are planning to create a list of important traits, skills, and characteristics so students have a quick reference when venturing into a new work environment.

There are lots of articles relating to “soft skills” on the job, but I want real world input. Here are a few of mine as an example:

1. Be teachable. A new job, experience, etc, means you probably don’t have all the answers, so seek mentors that have been around and know the ropes. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. Let other’s know you want to learn and you value their input. Never stop learning, nobody knows too much.

2. Question the status quo. Just because you’re new doesn’t mean you don’t have great ideas. In fact, you probably have a new and refreshing perspective on many things. However, you must know when you’re crossing the line between new innovative thinking and whining. Don’t be a whiner.

3. Be a leader. No matter what your position, title, experience, etc, don’t be afraid to lead. Leadership comes in many different forms and it isn’t just experience based. Experiment with your own leadership style. You don’t have to be the highest ranking or most tenured individual to lead. Sometimes all it takes is for you to take the reins and show some motivation, and others will follow. See Lt. Gen. Stephen Lorenz on leadership.

Please comment on this post, or email me at: breese27(at) Thanks!


Clark Captions said...

I'm not sure how I found your blog page, but I think it is great. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge and expertise.

A couple of things that I thought of regarding what a potential employer might look for is.....

1) Being punctual
2) Taking responsibility

Looking forward to your next post.

Brian Reese said...

Thanks for reading, Clark. Your input is greatly appreciated! I'll be sure to check out your blog.

Cameron Schaefer said...

I think the two qualities I would look for would be:

1) Integrity. I know this word gets thrown around a lot, but have you ever met one of those people that is always trying to cut corners, a little lie here and there? These habits often times are the starting point for a much larger moral failure coming down the pipe in years to come. People that are willing to fess up when they're wrong are very valuable to have in any organization.

2) Hard worker. You will never go wrong if you decide to out work your competitors. Be the first to volunteer when asked, work incredibly hard and you will set yourself apart.

Brian Reese said...

Thanks for the comment, Cam. Let me know if you have anyone else with valuable insight.

Andrew R said...


In my short experience in the actual workforce here are two qualities I have found will lead to creating value and being effective in the job force:

1. Be able to create clarity out of ambiguity. In the military, a common phrase from a commander or 'upper' is 'run with it.' I've received the directive to 'take it and run with it' more times than I care to think. But if you can take a fuzzy directive and turn it into a clear, concise deliverable you will ultimately add value and succeed.

2. Know when to ask and when to do the legwork yourself. There is a tough line where a quick question to a coworker can put you on your way and where you need to do the research and completely understand how you arrive at your answer or next course of action. Search for that line and know when to cross it and when not to. Don't be afraid to ask questions, but also don't be afraid to be independent and take the initiative to answer your own question.

There is a great quote from a Lt Col about the skills needed by young officers and I'm gonna dig it up for you and your post. Take care buddy!

Brian Reese said...

Thanks Andrew!

Anonymous said...

Brian - My Contemplated Thoughts re: "I Want Your Input"

1) Perseverance and Tenacity. For 40 hours a week, competition is intense. Once the rest of the crowd is at happy hour, focus, effort and drive above and beyond the call will reap unseen and unexpected rewards.
2) Know Your Business Inside Out. Seek out and absorb everything available to you on the net and throughout your industry about your project, your business, and your competition.
3) Stay the Course. Never quit, and practice the Zig Ziglar addage that "you can get anything in life that you want, if you'll just help enough others get what they want."
4) Work hard. Laugh often. Love always. Live well.

Steve Carlton

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