How do you know you have great employees?
You know that old saying: "When the boss says 'Jump!' an employee asks 'How high?'"
Let's set aside the fact that that is and old and abandoned boss' attitude and that CEO's are no longer dictators, let's focus on employees.
If you must tell your employee to jump, so to speak, that means a) he's waiting to hear the order and b) you must think because he doesn't.
You see, good employees see when it's time to jump without being instructed by the upper manager. They are observing the production process, thinking, and getting ideas how to improve things.
It may seem good - and good for your ego - to have workers ready to jump when you tell them, but let's face it: That means they don't use their own heads.
If your followers are just doing their job, then they are indeed followers, not active employees. Because, "just doing my job" today means "doing my job and constantly trying to improve things and contribute to the company."
Yes, the definition changed with time and in today's business you can't succeed with army of followers, you must have an army of good workers.
Good workers will find a new task, a new job, make a plan how to do it and present that plan to their CEO. Maybe that will mean more work for them but it will certainly mean a better product, a new product or more streamlined process. In any way, they are trying to improve the company with their ideas.
Good workers sometimes look like they can see the future. If you know s good CEOs assistant, you know that "Ms. Assistant, can you bring me..." ends with her words "...the file about that new client. Coming!"
Good employees always think at least one step ahead and save time and nerves, starting with themselves all the way up to the top management.
While it's true that the messenger with the bad news can be treated in not so pleasant way, so to speak, bosses know that it is important to deal with problems as soon as possible.
If the machine broke and your workers are trying to fix it with no idea will that last for an hour or seven days and you have no clue what's going on, well, that's bad.
Good workers a) are trying to solve the problem themselves if possible, without calling another department and b) they notify their boss about the situation.
So, if you take a good look around you, you can see in matter of days what your employees are doing and you don't have an analysis to see the shape of your company.
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