“Trust is earned when actions meet words.” -Chris Butler
What is the most important employee characteristic?
As I commence the fall semester at the University of Rhode Island, I am reminded of the lessons garnered from the New York J-term course I taught for the Harrington School of Communication and Media at the University of Rhode Island at the beginning of the year. Students had the opportunity to network and learn from more than 40 business professionals from corporations and agencies including Citibank, HBO, Momentum, Pepsi, Thomas Reuters, Twitter, and ESPN, just to name a few.
Authenticity, integrity, and communication all came up as important traits in an employee with trust mattering more as a leadership trait. It was the number one characteristic that came up, over and over again, in discussions with these corporate professionals, as an indicator of successful personal and professional relationships. Your word, your work, your brand–are you trustworthy? Are you trusted to complete projects on time? Are you trusted to meet your budget? Are you trusted to arrive on time, and be fully present?
A trusted employee is a valuable employee
Being a trusted employee at all levels of your career is a coveted and valuable asset. No company wants to lose an employee who is valuable, so showcase your value every day. As you are building your “brand,” remember that there are no shortcuts to trust and the “little” things ALL matter. Bring YOUR best self to work. Voice your opinion when opportunity arises and show your employer you can be trusted to move forward on the final decision your boss has chosen to implement. Define your digital brand professionally, for the people who “meet” you online before they meet you face to face. Live out the fortune cookie wisdom: “Good work brings good fortune.”
Twitter’s Manhattan office lobby is aglow with the neon light of a sign reading “#LoveWhereYouWork”. This is a great reminder to focus on the positive aspects of where we work, which builds a mindset of productivity, contribution, and follow-through: the cornerstones of becoming a trusted employee. As you pay attention to detail and work on self-improvement every day, this will lead to a trusted brand called YOU!
Whether you are new to the workforce or have been working for decades, these pieces of wisdom from several of the J-term guest speakers are always relevant:
“Be the first one to raise your hand, always.” -Adam Wiener, CBS Local Digital
“Don’t be afraid to scare yourself. Whether you fail or succeed, it will lead to other things.” -Mark Dupont, Focus Financial Partners
“Adhere to the Adjunct Model, try something – fail fast and forward.” -Michael Moore, Thompson Reuters
“Can you hear the smile in my voice and hear my enthusiasm in talking with you?” -Kathy O’Donnell, Citizens Bank (by phone)
“There will be mini fire drills throughout your day. Nothing surprises us. A Type A personality is an asset! -Sammi Vogel, HBO
Gail Lowney Alofsin is an author, speaker, adjunct professor and business executive. Her book, Your Someday is NOW – What are you Waiting For? has raised over $40,000 for non-profit organizations since April 2014.
A lifelong student and humanitarian, Gail believes that we all have the capability to be a leader in our own lives, influencing the lives of others to positive peak performance and success. To book Gail for your next conference or company meeting, email her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on twitter: @gailalofsin.