Characteristics of a Successful Employee: Quiet Accomplishments

Early in my career, the company I worked for required employees to write a monthly progress report. Each employee would send it to their manager, who in turn would consolidate and add their own accomplishments for the month. It would then go up with thousands of hours being spent on promoting oneself. It was an interesting notion to brag on yourself each month. Some people did it extremely well, while others hated it because they did not like talking about themselves.  I excelled at it because I found a way to highlight what I was doing without sounding too arrogant and even threw in humor to sound more humble than it was. When I became a manager, I made sure to highlight my employees success in a way that made sure to give myself credit for being such a good manager.

This is a trap that many of us fall into within the business world. How do you promote yourself so you get the right visibility for your accomplishments. Too often someone above us will take all of the credit and where does that leave us? In my career I have seen both sides where poor performers were great at promoting themselves while great performers were terrible at it. In many cases it came down to the integrity of the manager to highlight who was really doing the work.

That is the ultimate rub, isn’t it? As humans, in a business context, who are we going to put our trust in to help us get that step up? You will find many articles about mentors and coaches. Tons of resources and surveys about managing upward and the value to ones career. While there are many different ways to be known in your workplace and the world will tell us no one else will do it. So we need to toot our own horn. We have to shout our accomplishments from he rooftops to be seen and heard. Otherwise we will be relegated to the dark corners of the office.

We know what the world says we need to do, but what does God say? What heavenly principle can we apply to this conundrum? Luke 18:10-14 gives us a peek into the answer in the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector.

He told his next story to some who were complacently pleased with themselves over their moral performance and looked down their noses at the common people: “Two men went up to the Temple to pray, one a Pharisee, the other a tax man. The Pharisee posed and prayed like this: ‘Oh, God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, crooks, adulterers, or, heaven forbid, like this tax man. I fast twice a week and tithe on all my income.’

“Meanwhile the tax man, slumped in the shadows, his face in his hands, not daring to look up, said, ‘God, give mercy. Forgive me, a sinner.’”

Jesus commented, “This tax man, not the other, went home made right with God. If you walk around with your nose in the air, you’re going to end up flat on your face, but if you’re content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.”

As in most heavenly principles, Jesus tells us we do not need to shout our successes and accomplishments from the rooftop. If we focus on doing the best job we can and let others sing our accolades, then we are much better off. Jesus even tells us if we are “content to be simply yourself, you will become more than yourself.” This is encouraging to those who have been hurt by a manager or co-worker who has taken credit for your work. I have had that happen and it is not a pleasant experience. However, in Luke 6:27-30 we are told, “Love your enemies. Let them bring out the best in you, not the worst. When someone gives you a hard time, respond with the energies of prayer for that person. If someone slaps you in the face, stand there and take it. If someone grabs your shirt, gift wrap your best coat and make a present of it. If someone takes unfair advantage of you, use the occasion to practice the servant life. No more tit-for-tat stuff. Live generously.”

Here is the thing, while in the natural this heavenly principle seems to be at odds with how business works, we need to look at where our real recognition comes from. We should all long to live a life that is pleasing to God and honoring to Jesus. We should bring His love into our workplace. When we live according to His principles, Jesus will give us favor with those in authority. We do not need to brag about our accomplishments as our Father in heaven sees what we are doing and is smiling at us. We will find success in Him. It may translate to worldly success. Even if it doesn’t we know we are living for eternity and honoring God.

What do you think? Would love your inputs.


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