Guest Post: 20 Questions Smart Employees Ask Themselves

MJD Editor Rachel Kaufman’s Note: We’re beta-testing a partnership with Dan Schawbel’s Personal Branding Blog where we syndicate content from the blog on a weekly basis. This post is from Nance Rosen, a business communications expert.

These 20 questions cover five key areas that are critical to your accurately evaluating how well you’re doing at work. Your answers (or score) predict whether you’re likely to be promoted, fired or kept simmering in the same spot for years to come.

Score each question on a scale of 1-10 (10 = AWESOME). Add up your total score in each category. If you are totally awesome, you’ll have a total of 200 points. If you score below 30 points in any category, it’s time to take remedial action.


How well do I?

1. Exhibit expertise of the particular knowledge and skills that make me a uniquely valuable employee

2. Continue to get educated to update my knowledge and skills for my position and the positions I desire to hold in the future

3. Understand the metrics by which I am evaluated as well as those that my department is judged, and work to excel at those measured behaviors

4. Manage my tasks and actions to contribute to the performance outcomes set for my department and company


How well do I?

5. Understand and articulate my boss’ top priorities and reasons for them, and approach my work in that manner

6. Know which is of greater consequence to my superior: people, projects or principles

7. Appreciate my boss’ sense of balancing the need to a) gather information and b) take action

8. Show that I understand and support my superiors’ professional aspirations


How well do I?

9. Seek to create significant, lasting connections with everyone in my company

10. Communicate using all opportunities to strengthen my ties throughout the organization

11. Manage my intentions and actions to appropriaately compete and collaborate with my peers

12. Project my desire to be a resource to others as well as a willingness to be assisted by them


How well do I?

13. Keep a clear picture of the formal and informal reporting lines in my company

14. Like my company’s overall approach to business, people and the marketplace

15. Believe that I can contribute to the larger goals and vision of my organization

16. See that opportunities exist for me to grow and gain greater responsibility and authority in my company


How well do I?

17.  Imagine I would be able to step up and fill in for my boss or another superior, if needed

18. Seek opportunities to be increasingly effective and efficient with the tools, workspace and funds allocated to me

19. Build relationships outside of the company that can be leveraged for its benefit

20. Relate to people who have the capacity to mentor me and widen my scope of influence

There’s a wealth of free and low-cost resources to get you back on track. Let me know if there are any areas you’d like to drill down on, and I’ll be happy to send you a list to kick-start your career. Email:

Nance is the author of Speak Up! & Succeed, and an expert on business communication who teaches at UCLA Extension, and speaks all around the world to audiences on social media and career trends. Nance is a former marketing executive at The Coca-Cola Company and currently is CEO of NanceSpeaks and executive publisher at PegasusMediaWorld. She has appeared on CNBC and regularly contributes to media outlets including the New York Times, ABC, CBS radio, Investors Business Daily, MediaPost and the San Francisco Chronicle.

Publish date: February 7, 2012 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT