Thursday, April 4, 2013

Making the Most of It

There's this ongoing conversation I have been having, with trusted peers and adult children as they navigate the workplace, peeking into other opportunities and plotting moves.  I've also had this conversation, on various levels, with our team, as we're recently completed the annual review process (yippee!).

It's a fairly simple goal - let's get better at our jobs!  We have to be on stage, in place for so many hours a day, often foregoing our real passions, ignoring the seductive tug of personal distractions.  Most of us spend way more time with our co-workers than we do with our loved ones - this is disturbing, but a very different post for another time.

Many of the concepts posted here I've only recently put into practice in any intentional way; they are lifted from a article on the same topic - although I have put my own spin on their list:

1.  Anticipate your group's needs - pounce on opportunities to identify needs that your group doesn't even know they have yet.  It shows initiative, and in no time, management will appreciate that they can look away and depend on you to do MORE than your job.

2.  Get to know your boss better - since your boss decides your destiny (salary, opportunities like travel and training, additional responsibilities) it's probably a wise strategic move to get more invested, mostly professionally but also a bit personally.  And in your spare time, get to know your boss's boss.  It's all about building relationships, building rapport.

3. Positivity is a plus - whether in the workplace or not, this one needs very little promotion. 

4.  Stay current - keep up with changes in your industry and be a continual learner so you can talk intelligently, plan accordingly, and bring additional value to the table.

5.  Bring a solution with the problem - Are you one who can easily pinpoint workplace problems?  Management doesn't really want your complaints.  They may not even want your sky ideas.  They want clear and creative options from reliable sources (see #10 below) so their evaluation is easier.

6.  Coaching is key - everyone needs a workplace mentor, even if the relationship is informal.  That way, when a storm is brewing, you have someone to confidentially commiserate with and also to count on for guidance.

7.   Communication is key - okay, like coaching, this one is key!  It's important to address issues, to walk through conflict as it reduces stress, encourages honesty and absolutely slams down drama.  Ask the right questions to increase your understanding.

8.  Go above and beyond - all the time.  Do your job, of course, but volunteer for extra, especially if you have a chance to do something in another area.  It will increase your value as you will see the operational side of your business in new ways - all the other pain points, needs, and strengths of the entire organization.  It will give you a glimpse of the big picture.

9.  Get out of the office to gain perspective.  Taking a walk around the building can bring unbelievable clarity, often helping to set priorities for the rest of the day and week.  Try to work smarter so you still get out of the office timely. 

10.  Do what you say you are going to do - didn't we learn this one in first grade?  You will get management's attention if they perceive you as reliable, that you do what you commit to doing, and that your commitments are done with quality and timeliness.

I'm not saying all your dreams will come true, but leading yourself in the workplace can, hands down, be the most gratifying part of clocking in.

1 comment:

  1. Not that it's either/or BUT I vote for getting "happier at" your job rather than "better at".