Self-Managers Wanted: Here’s What to Look For

The “perfect” employee isn’t one who does whatever you say, but someone who knows what to do without having to be told. It’s someone who performs the job without constant prodding, someone who can manage himself or herself with a minimum of interference from you. Here’s what to look for in a self-managing employee:

  • Goals. Look for people who set their own objectives and push themselves to achieve them. Instead of accomplishing the bare minimum, they stretch to do a little bit more, or a little bit better, without anyone else telling them to.
  • Guidance. An effective self-manager doesn’t pretend to know everything. The people you want aren’t afraid to ask for advice or assistance, or to seek someone else’s opinion when necessary.
  • Creativity. Pay attention to employees who are willing to suggest and try different solutions, who think about old problems in new ways and aren’t afraid to risk making a mistake or two.
  • Self-improvement. Does an employee take the initiative in learning a skill? You want employees who don’t wait for you to send them to a training seminar, but who identify gaps, or things they’d like to learn, and take steps on their own to move forward.
  • Challenge. Look at employees who seek out bigger projects, more responsibility, or a way to contribute more. The desire to grow is a valuable characteristic to nurture and reward.

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