A reliable employee can be worth more than two less-than-reliable team members. A reliable employee is someone who makes our job easier by being better, often in the subtlest ways, than their peers.

Although our employees might not think so, managers are human and can be swayed by emotion. Liking someone is not the same as them being an excellent employee. It’s often the opposite; while we like them, they’re terrible employees getting away with it.

Conversely, we might judge someone too harshly, thinking they’re unreliable, when in reality, they’re an outstanding employee we simply don’t like.

This list can give you a standard by which to judge. Also, since we’re all someone’s employee, it’s a list that we can use to aspire to being even better ourselves.

● Time-conscious – The most obvious attribute of reliable employees is that they show up for work on time. They don’t call out a lot. If they’re delayed, they take the time to call in to let someone know. At the most fundamental level, reliable employees take their time commitments to their jobs seriously.
● Understand the why – The best employees take the time to understand the “why” of their actions, not just the “how.” They strive to understand how what they’re doing fits into the big picture of the company’s efforts and profits. Less reliable staff members just go through the motions, which is fine, but that makes them a cog in a machine, not an active, conscious part of the effort.
● Integrity – Integrity is the key to almost every relationship. A willingness to accept responsibility, tell the truth, and operate with honor are fundamental to being a great person, let alone a great employee.
● Conflict resolution – Reliable employees don’t get involved in constant, unnecessary conflicts. They look for ways to get through and past any conflicts that arise. They don’t look to their leadership to make things easier; they work with the other person to get past the issues.
● Problem solving – In every walk of life, working with someone who can solve problems makes life a lot easier. Reliable employees help to get past problems as they arise using their own skills instead of waiting for solutions from above.
● Self-starting – “It’s better to beg forgiveness than ask permission.” The most reliable employees know what needs to be done, and they do it. If it’s not exactly correct, they’re willing to ask for your forgiveness, but they won’t delay action while waiting for permission.
● Innovative – Along with problem-solving and self-starting comes the ability to be innovative. Coming up with creative ideas at work is one of the least rewarded skills, but it’s the one that can define the difference between a good and a mediocre employee.
● Ambitious – As leaders, many of us fear the people who work below us. We see them as competition or potential competition. We spend our time encouraging them with our words and standing on their toes at the same time. Ambition is a powerful motivator to be better all the time. If your team is better, it’s clear that you’re better. If someone you train ends up being your boss, it’s usually because they pushed harder in the first place. Let your people be ambitious. Let them succeed. It will make your life easier.