Management Matters: What does Character LOOK LIKE in Employees?

The technical skill people need to do their job is only one part of developing a strong workforce. Employers are seeking strong non-technical skills as well – those interpersonal aspects that include attitude, character, responsibility and the ability to make good choices and initiative. This is also known as having a good work ethic.

Employee responsibility is often the missing vital link in the working arena. Employers are seeking to employ people who:

  • Show up every day, on time and ready to work
  • Focus on work during work – not personal business or personal problems
  • Have a positive work attitude
  • Get along with boss, co-workers and customers
  • Work independently
  • Take responsibility
  • Make informed choices
  • Create goals
  • Show initiative
  • Communicate effectively
  • Work with difficult people
  • Have accurate self-perception of abilities
  • Manage time effectively
  • Manage emotions
  • Use problem solving and critical thinking
  • Are dressed appropriately
  • Are groomed appropriately

If you cannot tell employees what these behaviors LOOK LIKE when performed well, they may have a tough time knowing and understanding what your standards of success actually are.  Instead of assuming everyone knows what you mean by (any of) the terms above, describe what it looks like when someone is behaving well. Describing observable behaviors gives them a better chance of understanding what you want.

When you do that, you stand a much better chance of actually getting what you want!

Joni Daniels is Principal of Daniels & Associates, a management consulting practice that specializes in developing people in the areas of leadership and management, interpersonal effectiveness and efficiency, skill- building, and organizational development interventions. With over 30 years of experience, she is a sought after resource for Fortune 500 clients, professional organizations, higher education, media outlets and business publications. Joni can be reached at