What does it mean to be a good worker? It is quite subjective as it differs from one boss to another. Its definition can change from the skills that you have to how you conduct yourself in the workplace.
A good worker can mean someone who can perform the tasks of the job well. Reflecting on it, a lot of time is spent training and learning how to be a good worker in terms of skills related to the job. For example, in training to be a developer (computer programmer), one would be doing courses, practising on side projects and attending conferences to improve their skills and learn new methods of solving problems. This is not to mention the many years of schooling we had to do to get there!
Alternatively, there are also a lot of soft skills and character development and just “work etiquette” that one needs to have too which are not necessarily taught in our education system but are things that we just pick up. These too can define whether or not we are a good worker.
An example for a developer is how they can simplify complex concepts and jargon to explain them to non-technical people. As a skill, whilst not critical for the core of what they do, it in fact helps set them apart from others in their field and can enable better opportunities for them in the long run.
Have we ever stopped to think about what the Bible considers to be a good worker? What are some certain soft skills and techniques and framing that can help us improve as a worker?
Bible’s take on a good worker
When we look at what the Bible says about how we should be conducting ourselves at work, it presents us with a picture of seeking to be good workers in whatever circumstances we are placed (1 Corinthians chapter 10 verse 31) and asks us to have the mindset as though we are working diligently for God (Colossians chapter 3, verses 22 to 23). Some habits include: doing the best that we can in our roles (Proverbs chapter 12 verse 24); not show favouritism (James chapter 2 verses 1 to 4); and making sure we have in mind a bigger picture of God’s plan for the world.
Sounds simple, but yet it is quite hard to do as there are many distractions to being a diligent worker. How should we be responding when colleagues dislike each other, and it is affecting the team dynamics? Or how do we persevere through working for difficult and demanding bosses (with long hours) where whatever you seek to do, it does not satisfy them or there is always something to nitpick about? Alternatively, how should we respond when we are overlooked for a job, promotion or rated below our expectations in performance reviews?
There are a few broad tips and tricks we can do to help ourselves in some of these situations:
Be authentic and take responsibility
This one is hard as it requires us to admit fault and take responsibility for our decisions and our work. However, doing this will help build trust and credibility in you as a person and worker over the long run which augments and amplifies the skills you have (and continue to build up on) for your role over time.
Everyone you are working with is human
Sometimes we may be scared when chatting with our managers or a very senior boss. Whilst we need to show respect for the position, at the same time, we should remember that at the end of the day, they are human too. This means (whilst they might not be as open with you about certain things), they have their own interests, fears, passions and hurdles that they are living through and/or battling every day.
When you have the chance, take the time to try and get to know them and find common interests or topics of discussion whether it is food, holidays, hobbies, sport or pets. Having one common topic can help build rapport which can help make it easier to work with them.
Miscommunication and issues arise from misaligned expectations
Everyone can speak about a time when they completed a task and it was not what your boss expected. A lot of the time, disagreements, arguments, or frustrations at work come from either miscommunication or a misalignment of expectations between parties.
Whenever we embark on a task, project or job, it is better be clear on expectations than to assume and end up doing the wrong thing. It is important to clarify expectations and get agreement from both parties. This way if an alternate result arises, there is a clear conversation that can be referred to and limits the amount of hearsay.
Doing this can also help in our personal relationships with friends or loved ones. Frustrated at a friend that is always turning up late to events? Have a conversation with them to understand their perspective and agree on a solution. Had an argument with a loved ones or housemates about chores? Have the conversations and remind each other frequently so that everyone understands each other’s expectations.
There are many more tips and tricks that each of us encounter in our own jobs to navigate the workplace and be better workers. What are some of your tips and tricks? This might be something you can chat with your friends and colleagues when you next see them!
Brandon Tsang is a Sydney-based writer currently working in IT. He studied Marketing and Economics at UNSW and loves to spend his spare time hiking, playing volleyball or watching Netflix. Brandon Tsang’s previous articles may be viewed at