Saturday, 22 May 2010

Two Kinds of Employees

There are two kinds of employees in any organisation:

Those who play it safe

Their job role is defined around a list of fixed responsibilities and tasks, which they will follow to the letter and not change. They will do everything that is within their agreed purview, and will do it efficiently. They carry out fixed and routine tasks. They follow set rules. They do what they are told. They will not take initiative. They will wait for orders. They play safe. They follow the straight path with no diversions. Diverging from a process means more work, independent thought and accountability. 

This is a comfortable, no risk, CYA work ethic. They cannot be held responsible for something they are told to do. They will enjoy stable jobs but will always be seen as followers. There is a limit to how much responsibility they will be given in an organisation. They will be used well, but not relied upon for bigger things.

Those who show initiative

They define themselves by their goals, not by a fixed list of tasks or responsibilities, which can constantly change. They are ready for change. They will go out of their purview to get something done. They not only follow the rules but change them and break them if necessary, and set new rules. They do what they are told, and more. They think for themselves, and do what they should have been told to do. 

They constantly take initiative, and not wait for orders, but do what they think is right. More importantly, they take responsibility for everything they do, because their actions are theirs alone, and not necessarily group mandated, but actions that they believe will help the group at large. This contains an element of risk, as bad decisions are occasionally made, and consequences follow. But in the long run, they are trusted with larger projects that require independent thought.

What do you think? Which group are you in?



Bhavita said...

That's very well-put together. I always knew I belonged to the latter, happily belong there. Also aware of the risks that come along with it, cos you are never in that shell of "safe secure" bubble that comes once you stop sticking to the rules. I'm aware cos I've seen the highs and lows of belonging to the group who takes the initiative. What abt u Dan, are you in any of these groups, or just a silent spectator heh lol

Daniel D'Mello said...


I've been in the first group for most of my career, for various reasons.

Spectators would be part of the first group too, I think :-)

I feel that your personality dictates what group you will fall into. If you really are the kind of person who takes the first step, you're gong to do so throughout your life, in school, college, etc. and not just at work. And it's the same for those people who'd rather that things came to them.

So in a way, we don't consciously choose what group to join, but rather stick to what kind of work we feel comfortable or happy doing.

What I'm also trying to say is, there's nothing wrong with either group, and you should be happy in either one, as long as that's the one that matches your personality.

Welcome to the blogging world.

Vyankatesh said...

Excellent thoughts.

I wish more and more people come into bracket 2.

Daniel D'Mello said...

Thanks for your thoughts.

Neena Sharma said...

Tricky blog this. If I say I belong to the first category I appear stupid. If I say the second I blow my own trumpet.

Well-written. I'm joining you as a follower. Would appreciate if you reciprocate.

Daniel D'Mello said...


Well, some would call those who play it safe, smart :-)

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