New year, new you: 10 tips for becoming a better employee

Whether you’ve made your career a new year’s resolution, are starting a brand new job or just want the next 12 months to be the best they can be at work, aiming to be a better employee is always a good idea. Not only will it help you grow in your career, it could lead to a promotion, new experiences and an overall happier life. Make those 40-plus hours per week count with these tips and tricks to becoming a top-notch employee.

1. Ask for more feedback.

Feedback and communication is the key to improving yourself at work. If you aren’t already meeting with your boss or manager for a weekly or bi-weekly one-on-one meeting, schedule it ASAP. The 30 minutes that you get alone with them could be life-changing. You’ll be able to ask questions in confidence, as well as get feedback for ways you can improve your workflow, communication style and more. Plus, these private meetings often lead to more candid conversations, so you might even learn more about the company and projects that you’re not apart of, which can help put things into context.

2. Organize your work life.

If you’re not already using a to-do list to manage your time and work at the office, we highly suggest you start. It might amaze you how much more you can get done when your daily tasks are clearly outlined for you.

Additionally, consider tidying up your desk. Someone once said “tidy desk, tidy mind,” and we couldn’t agree more. A cluttered workspace could lead to higher stress and lower productivity. Organize your area this year so you can show your boss you’ve got it all together. If it seems like you’re constantly losing papers and documents, they may not want to assign you to a new project.

Lastly, being more organized at work can also lead to a more balanced life. You’ll easily sweep through your to-do list by 5 p.m. and can head home for dinner with your SO or actually make it to book club on time. Those things are so important and can demonstrate to your boss and manager that you’ve got it all under control.

3. Come in early.

Someone once told us that it’s a good idea to be in the office before your boss. Regardless of that advice, it’s a good idea to get into the office early so that you can take your time getting yourself ready for the day ahead. Put your stuff down, grab a cup of coffee, review your to-do list and start every day in the right mindset. The office will surely be quiet so you won’t get distracted or overwhelmed first thing in the morning. Again, your boss might just see this as a sign that you’re organized and in control.

4. Give 110 percent at all times.

Whatever it is that you do — get coffee, take notes during the staff meeting, schedule appointments for your boss — give 110 percent. If you can make the best cup of Joe, take the most spot-on notes or schedule every appointment flawlessly, your boss will surely see that you are a valuable asset to the team. They may allow you to take on more responsibilities.

5. Take on a new responsibility.

Once you’ve demonstrated to your boss that you’ve totally got your shit together, ask him if you can take on a new responsibility. If you’re not even sure what that could be, take a week or so to see where you could fill in the gaps. Is there a daily report that needs to be sent out to the team? Are you noticing that a project has completely been pushed aside and your other team members aren’t eager to get it back on track? Ask if you can take one of these tasks off your boss’s hands and take the lead. They’ll appreciate the help and you’ll have the opportunity to show your abilities.

6. Network.

Networking both in and out of the office is seriously important for your career. It can be tough making it to networking events at night or scheduling coffee dates with other team members when you feel swamped at work, but making time could make a huge difference. You could end up meeting a mentor who helps guide you through sticky work situations or maybe connect with a team member in another department. Both would surely impress your boss and help her see you as someone with a little extra to offer the team.

7. Speak up.

Whether it’s a new idea to make a process more efficient or you just want to ensure you’re given the credit you deserve for a project, don’t be afraid to speak up at work. Of course, there’s always a time and a place for both of these, but in the right setting and in the right way, you could easily make a positive impression on your boss or another executive at the company. Impressions are important because they stay with people long after the workday has ended.

8. Stay calm.

Work can get stressful. Aim to be the employee that can stay cool as a cucumber in even the craziest of situations. Adopt a solution-based mindset and help solve the problem instead of idly sitting by as your team members and boss work to put out the fire. If you can be the calm and collected employee to help guide the situation in the right direction, you’ll easily make an impression on your boss as someone with true leadership potential.

9. Read more.

Books are great for so many reasons. Whether you’re looking to grow in your careertake control of your finances or become a better coworker, there are so many books that help you become a better employee. You’ll show your boss that you have goals for yourself outside of what you’re doing at work. Bonus: Books are great (read: intelligent and fun) talking points so you’ll always be able to make small talk with even the highest executive at the company.

10. Support others.

If Lucy has a great idea that was clearly not heard in the boardroom, or someone continues to speak over your boss, speak up and support them. Reiterate your team members’ ideas if you think they’re good and ask others to repeat themselves while no one is speaking so they’re heard. It’s so important to support others in your office. Hopefully, they’ll also support you by doing the same. Regardless, you’ll show your team player and can get behind great ideas that aren’t only your own. You work at a company, so be an active member of that group — we bet you’ll enjoy working there so much more if you do.

What else have you done to grow in your career? Tell us by joining our exclusive LinkedIn Group!