Succeeding in the Workplace
20 More Tips for Young Employees from Dr. Rob’s Readers
I appreciate everyone’s responses to last week’s post about how to succeed in today’s workplace. Here are some of the extremely helpful responses (and please keep them coming).
- Conduct yourself as professionally as possible. Try not to let your emotions rule you. If you get angry or upset with someone, wait a few minutes, take a few deep breaths, and let your “rational self” return before you respond.
- Take time to do the job right. Check (and double-check) your work carefully. (In reader’s experience, this is the fastest way to earn the respect and confidence of your bosses and colleagues).
- Make an effort to differentiate yourself: show wisdom, empathy, concern for your co-workers, great listening skills, and a caring/generous attitude. You’ve been hired for your IQ…You’ll be successful for your EQ.
- Servant Leadership…..It is not about you and the exposure/visibility you get that makes you successful. It is about enabling others to be successful and about leading others to reach a mutual goal. Doing the job well without worrying about exposure has been a key to a reader’s success.
- Communication…..Communication is at a much higher level than texting and Snapchat! Real interaction and connectivity with others is communication and it requires feedback. Sending an email or text does not end your responsibility to communicate properly. Can’t tell you how many times I have heard “Well I sent an e-mail or a text” “Did you get a response?” “No” “Then you did not communicate”.
- Make yourself invaluable by always learning and being helpful. Disney tells their employees to never turn someone away who has a problem. They are taught to think “It may not be my fault, but it is my problem” and to fix it or find someone who can.
- Be willing to take on tasks that are outside of your comfort zone. Make time to ask questions and understand expectations.
- Your workload is your responsibility. Think through it carefully to ensure that you have enough time to complete each task. If you are going to miss a deadline, tell your supervisor with as much advance notice as possible.
- Know the difference between the job and the work – the “job” is what you’ve been asked to do (e.g. job description), the “work” is the purpose of the company/division/team. Do more than your job… do the work!
- It is really important to be open-minded and social so that you would feel comfortable in your working environment. Don’t complain about your colleagues or gossip about others in your workplace. Aim to be impeccable with your words. (Not always easy!) Understand the rules of the game and learn how to play it successfully. Be yourself. People are more likely to like you (or at least respect you) if you operate from a place of authenticity. Appreciate diversity (of opinions, backgrounds, etc).
- Keep an open line of communication with your colleagues, and talk with them honestly when problems arise. Strive for solutions, and be willing to make changes in yourself when needed. Get to know your supervisor’s communication style and preferences and adapt to them. The number one predictor of your happiness in the workplace is the success of your relationship with your boss. A good relationship relies on successful communication.
- Be curious. Ask good discovery questions and listen intently. Be willing to learn and having the guts to say when you don’t know/understand something. Listen carefully. Take notes, and use them. Don’t be afraid to ask for the resources you need in order to do the job right. Be prepared to learn from everyone and every situation, even what not to do. It’s important to ask “why” (professionally and respectfully of course).
- Go ahead, be ambitious – for the organizational mission, for the people/customers you serve, for your supervisor’s goals… but not for yourself. Properly aimed ambition will benefit you benevolently. Put team goals before personal ones.
- Have integrity – it is a non-negotiable and defining characteristic of good leadership; and, without it, ambition can be dangerous and misdirected.
- Don’t make excuses or blame others for your mistakes. Try not to make the same mistakes again. Be mindful and accountable. And don’t be afraid to apologize—it won’t hurt you!
- Pay compliments when they are due. Everyone loves to be praised and thanked! With respect to others, praise in public, criticize in private. Look for opportunities to make others look good.
- Be on time, every time. Or even better… Five minutes early!
- Learn to trust your “gut feel” as soon as you can.
- Conform to the company’s norm or “culture”.
- And of course for successful work life balance: Stay off work related cell phones and work related social media while with your family. (Unless it is part of your job responsibility)