The Concept and Qualities of The Modern Ideal Worker

January 29, 2021

The concept of the ideal worker was first defined decades ago in what was then the modern office workplace. The ideal worker was the (usually white male) employee who showed up every day and did their best work no matter what. If their child was sick, their house was flooded, or anything else occurred, they still didn’t miss work. 

Obviously, the ideal worker has changed. The current climate of corporate America is one of innovation and adaptation, making the topic of the ideal worker more timely than ever. 

Today, everyone is wondering what the modern ideal worker is and how they can become one themselves. Here are some of the qualities of the “new” ideal worker:

1. Adaptability

In any role, ideal workers must be adaptive and flexible. This was most clearly revealed during the pandemic. Corporations were forced to go remote almost overnight and their employees had to adapt. Beyond that, they had to learn to thrive in their new environment. If we are resistant to change, a tension will arise that will impede our job performance. Things are constantly changing, technology is always adapting, and industries are growing very quickly. Employees that stick it out must not only keep up with but excel through these adaptations.

2. Inclusivity

Inclusivity and diversity are front and center in the world today. They are becoming increasingly important to both corporations and employees. If a company is not instituting diversity at every level of their leadership, they will cease advancing. However, having inclusivity and diversity as core values brings incredible value to organizations. Likewise, employees that come in with an attitude of inclusivity and match the standards of those companies who are adapting in this way will thrive.

3. Independence

In our fully distributed workplace, we don’t have managers walking around keeping employees on task. Being distributed requires every employee to keep themselves in check. Each worker must be independent and able to get their work done on their own. They must understand their unique roles and responsibilities within their organizations and execute on that. This also prevents leaders from becoming micromanagers. In order to stay relevant, employees must have the freedom and ability to question their bosses and bring up new ideas. That is why independent workers empower their companies so greatly.

4. Collaborative

Collaboration lends toward the health of companies and the ability to work well with colleagues. Even if each employee is independent (as they should be if they are ideal workers), they can still come together and lift one another up. The only way for a company to be successful is if it has workers who are committed to being team players. 

Of course, the ideal worker may look different in your organization. It is important to remember that it is a fluid concept. Your ideal worker will vary from another executive’s ideal worker and even from your ideal worker five years down the road. It all comes down to performing the thoughtful exercise of defining your company’s ideal worker and figuring out how you can best foster connection between those workers.

To learn more about the ideal worker of 2021, check out Episode 012: The New “Ideal” Worker.

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