What Are Some Of The Biggest Mistakes That Good Employees Make?

Just showing up and working hard isn’t enough.

What Are Some Of The Biggest Mistakes That Good Employees Make?
[Photo: Flickr user mayeesherr.]

Here are some mistakes that great employees make that don’t allow them to become rock-star employees.


1. They Clock In, Work, Clock Out

The difference between a great employee and a rock-star employee is the amount of value that they bring to the table. I don’t advocate living your life based 100% on your business or professional pursuits, but the rock-star employees are the ones who, when they go home, keep learning.

They’re the type that will be on Quora learning, absorbing, and spreading their knowledge. They keep up with the status quo and leading innovations in their industries and positions. That may mean studying new and upcoming technologies within the Internet of Things sphere, or new software engineering PM angles that are being taken.

The ones who come into work, do their job completely, and then leave are great employees. Those who try to improve themselves, their craft, and their abilities consistently are the rock-star employees.

2. They Don’t Take Enough Risks

Great employees are able to do whatever they are given, whether it’s a huge, valuable project or just a list of tasks that need to done. Being consistent and correct goes a long way toward being one of the best employees. However, those employees may not take risks, because they just want to do what they are told. They see their job as a set of guidelines and tasks, and as long as they complete them, they’ll be okay.

Rock-star employees are out there pushing the limits on what is allowed or possible. They’re willing to sacrifice and go through discomfort, for the payout can be huge. Great employees try to lose small, whereas rock stars want to win big.

3. They Never Challenge Their Superiors

In the same vein of the above, the great employee is someone of whom managers and superiors are likely to say, “He’s one of our hardest working employees,” or, “I love working with him.” Obviously there’s nothing wrong with this, but the rock-star employees are willing to challenge and push their managers when the time comes and they know they’re right.


It’s a risk, and it requires you to know more than your manager at times to be able to stand up to them and say, “I don’t think this will work, because X and Y. How about we try to do Z instead?” But that’s what rock-star employees do. They consistently challenge themselves and those people around them in order to grow.

Answer by Cory A. Martin, most viewed writer in business and entrepreneurship on Quora.

This question originally appeared on Quora and is reprinted with permission: What are some of the biggest mistakes that great employees make?