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Ade Olabode: 5 Things You’re Doing That’s Stopping You From Being a Great Employee



Ade Olabode_2How to be a great employee! Why does this even matter? Because we have to be the best in whatever we do. No excuses or exceptions! This means you shouldn’t settle to be mediocre or feel less fulfilled in life, simply because you happen to be an employee.

And in my last column, a practical guide to employers on how they should treat employees, it appears that I got quite a few things right, about how employers should act. However, as we all know, there are always two sides to a story. And employer/employee relationship is no different. So for this relationship to work, it’s only fit and proper for us to examine what employees should desist from doing:

Regarding your job as a temporary stop gap
Sadly, it’s common in our society for employees to feel they’re only ‘temporary’ working in a company, till they find a ‘better’ job/company.

This is exacerbated because we as Nigerians also strongly believe ‘no condition is permanent‘. And quite a few people equate the ‘condition’ in their lives to mean their current employer/job. This attitude is detrimental to the company, your colleagues and most importantly, the customers you serve. Because they all have to deal with you. The person who doesn’t want to be there.

The impact of this is especially damaging for small business owners, because they don’t have the ‘brand’ that makes a job attractive. So people prefer to do the exact same job, with similar pay in a more recognisable company.

No pride in your work
Employers especially detest when employees don’t regard their work as important. Telltales’ signs of this type of employee are one that regards everything as a ‘small mistake’, no attention is paid to understanding the fundamentals, needs corrections for same things, etc.

It appears that there’s a pervasive feeling that ‘it’s not my company’ so he/she doesn’t put in their best efforts. The irony is that they miss a wonderful opportunity to develop themselves at an employer’s expense.

Side projects 
Everyone talks about ‘multiple revenue streams‘. It’s the concept that dictates you must have different sources of income, which supplements your main job/salary. No one is saying you shouldn’t have a side gig e.g. selling clothes, make-up, cakes and pastries etc, but the real problem comes when you treat your side project like your main job – right at work!

So if you’ve ever spent the whole day at work doing this so-called side project, then my question to you is simply ‘why don’t you make it your real job?’

Converting company property to personal use
To an extent, no one begrudges you making use of some company resources for private use. But in Nigeria, we are fond of abusing this privilege. So you find situations where employees think it’s okay to go home with half of the company’s supply of stationery, cutlery, etc. I’ve even heard of cases of people taking company’s petrol to power their generator when they get home.

No separation between home and personal
Yes, we all do it. You know that colleague who spends the whole time speaking to their husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend etc. Or who thinks work is the perfect time to download (free data, right) and watch movies, catch up with the latest gossips and blogs etc.

Now if that accurately describes you, then realise that your colleagues view you as a distraction (even if they’re too kind/scared to say so to your face).

Finally, the right attitude and approach is to view every job as a learning opportunity to improve yourself for bigger challenges. The mistake a lot of employees make is to think ‘I won’t do anything or learn anything here’, which always turns out detrimental to their development.

And that’s it, folks! Do you feel I’ve missed anything? Let me know your thoughts in the comments, so we can learn together.

Papa Olabode is an adviser to small business owners. He's the co-founder & CEO of PrognoStore (, the Point-of-Sale Software for small businesses. PrognoStore is a 3-in-1 solution as it combines point-of-Sale, Inventory and Analytics to be all you need to run your store. He's a chartered accountant and has previously worked at Deloitte, Credit Suisse and co-founded HGE Capital. Follow on Twitter @papaolabode

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