What great employees do

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Here is an article written by Steve Tobak for CBS MoneyWatch, the CBS Interactive Business Network. To check out an abundance of valuable resources and obtain a free subscription to one or more of the website’s newsletters, please click here.

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This definitely isn’t the first time somebody’s written about what makes employees special. But it may very well be the first time someone’s telling you what will genuinely get your management excited about you and ultimately get you promoted. No kidding.

Look, you’ve got to understand the reality here. People will cite ridiculously esoteric research studies and pull all sorts of popular, feel-good stuff out of their utopian behinds — whatever it takes to get you to click. That’s great for feeding your ego and your addiction to distraction, but it doesn’t do squat for your career.

This is different. It’s not some kumbaya fluff that will get you a big pat on the back, a “Nice job, buddy” from the boss, or a gift certificate for a cheap dinner. This is what employees really do to distinguish themselves in the eyes of management. It’s how up-and-comers become up-and-comers. It’s how you get recognized and moving up the corporate ladder. It’s what today’s top executives did when they were in your shoes.

[Here are the first three of seven defining characteristics of great employees. To read the complete article, please click here.]

1. Take responsibility for hot projects with a fearless attitude. And get this. If it works out, you don’t waste a lot of time basking in the glory, at least not at work. Maybe you go out and celebrate with the other team members. That aside, you’re all about finding the next big challenge. You’re hungry for more. And if it fails, you don’t point fingers. You take full responsibility and learn from it. And you know what? That’s when management will start to see you as one of them. That’s big.

2. Demonstrate natural leadership. That means when you take charge of something, people naturally follow, even though you don’t have the title or the authority. Never mind everything you read; that’s what natural leadership is really all about. There are all sorts of different styles that work, but mostly it comes down to a fearless self-confidence and charisma that people find magnetic. That’s like gold in the corporate world.

3. Say, “Sure, no problem, will do,” and then do it. It’s one thing to have a solid work ethic and get the job done. That certainly key in the real business world. But it’s another thing entirely to always accept challenging assignments with open arms and a simple, “No problem, will do” acknowledgement. And the tougher it is, the more confident you sound and the harder you work to make it happen. That’s the sign of an employee who needs a promotion or two.

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To read the complete article, please click here.

Steve Tobak is a consultant and former high-tech senior executive. He’s managing partner of Invisor Consulting, a management consulting and business strategy firm. Contact Steve, follow him on Facebook, or connect on LinkedIn.

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