I doubt there is such a thing as an ideal employee as everything in life is context related. There are however key characteristics of employees which are most desirable by organizations.
Positioning and branding one self as having these characteristics is a right step on the way to success:
1. Professionalism – First and foremost an employee is hired to perform a task or service. Professionalism is the very fundamental requirement from any desirable employee.
2. Curiosity – An employee should be curious of his job and his surroundings. Employee and organizational evolution stems from employee curiosity and the drive to explore processes and methodologies.
3. Solution oriented – A solution oriented employee is an asset. Most people tend to focus on the problem and to seek guidance and counsel. Some, if mentored, can understand and adopt solution oriented behavior which requires self-confidence and assertiveness. When given an assignment or issue to address a solution oriented employee acts as a fire and forget missile and return with results. These might require further tuning but is much more valuable then an employee which constantly checks back with more issues, clarifications and guidance.
4. Courageousness – Strictly linked to #4 an employee should take calculated risks and make independent decisions. An employee should not be completely dependent on his superior for guidance and solutions.
5. Ambitiousness – A striving employee is an employee which sets goals, has long-term vision and endurance and identifies with the organization.
6. Not yes–mans – Surprisingly, yes-mans are undesirable employees. Many managers state that yes-mans, as easy to manage and control as they might be, are undesirable to the organization in the long-term. This sort of employees makes fine junior level employees but lack of disagreements and conflicts is harmful in senior executive levels. Managers require challenges in order to affirm decisions or adopt new points of view.