Top 10 Traits of an Indispensable Employee – Attitude and Accountability

Top 10 Traits of an Indispensable Employee
Attitude and Accountability

by James Long, Director of Client Services, Acclivity Healthcare

Drum roll please! We have officially reached the last two traits on our list of the top 10 traits of an indispensable employee. Over the past four months, we have highlighted and discussed each of the other eight traits and now it is time to share the top two traits. These traits were gathered by surveying hundreds of healthcare executives in our network over the years. As a quick recap, the first eight of the ten traits that we discussed are #10 Loyalty, #9 Professionalism, #8 Ethics, #7 Team Player, #6 Adaptability, #5 Communication, #4 Expertise, and #3 Leadership. In this article we will be discussing traits #2 and #1, Attitude and Accountability. We hope that you have found our advice helpful and feel that you have the knowledge and power to go out there and make yourself indispensable.

Top 10 Trait #2 – Attitude


Having the right attitude is essential to being an indispensable employee. Let’s break down the term ‘attitude’ into three terms that we like to call “The Three E’s”, energy, enthusiasm and excitement. The Three E’s are essential in any position within any business. Although you may not be the face of a company, when you communicate with your colleagues or customers, you are the sole experience they have with the brand at that moment.

The way you communicate speaks volumes about two brands, the company’s brand and your own brand. When you talk to a customer or a colleague, do they leave the conversation inspired, energized and enthusiastic or uninspired, disillusioned and bored? The impression they form is up to you and it starts with your mood.

Employers are looking for that can-do attitude and want you to show that you have the right mindset to get the job done. Have you ever achieved anything when you’ve had a negative attitude? Probably not. A positive attitude may not guarantee success, but it has been proven that a negative attitude guarantees failure. You’ve heard it before, and we will say it again, attitude is everything.

Top 10 Trait #1 – Accountability


Accountability is about taking responsibility. However, it is not just about owning the problem, but about also owning the solution. See the problem for what it is, look for the process to solve it and then, most importantly, solve the problem. That’s what accountability is all about. This may sound easier said than done but if you take the following tips into consideration you will find it much easier to do.

  1. Define the problem or opportunity to improve: Ask yourself and others the following questions then write them down.
    • What can you see that causes you to think there’s a problem or opportunity to improve?
    • Where is it happening?
    • How is it happening?
    • When is it happening?
    • With whom is it happening?
    • Why is it happening?
  2. Prioritize the problem: If you discover that you are looking at several related problems, then prioritize which ones you should address first.
  3. Understand your role in the problem: Keep in mind that your role in the problem can greatly influence how you perceive the role of others. Try to eliminate factors such as stress and guilt when trying to find your role.
  4. Look for the cause: It’s often useful to collect input from those directly affected by the problem on an individual basis at first. Once you have data from others, you should be able to answer what is happening, where, when, how, who and why.
  5. Fix the problem: Unless this is a personal or employee performance issue, it’s useful to keep others involved. You can brainstorm solutions to collect as many ideas as possible, then screen them to find the best idea.
  6. Create your action plan: This is the actual method you will use to resolve your problem. You should know what you hope your end results will be before you reach them. Think about what steps need to be taken, what resources are needed, and who needs to be involved in the implementation of your action plan.
  7. Verify whether or not the problem has been solved: One of best ways to verify if a problem has been solved or not is to resume normal operations in the organization and monitor to see if the issue returns. If it does, go back to step one and start over. If not, congratulations, you have successfully solved the problem.

This is a critical process in any organization. Make no mistake, if you don’t go out of your way to make sure your value is known, then no one else will.