20 proven ways to succeed at work
Even iron rusts over time. The same happens to people physically, mentally and professionally if you don’t constantly evolve. Expecting an employer or your boss to think about how to develop you, entertain you, move you forward in your career, and encourage you is naive, if not stupid. No one owes you anything. Only you are capable of moving yourself forward.
Over the past 16 years, I’ve worked my way up from a junior accountant to a management position in a fairly large international company. At my peak I had to manage a department of 40 people, now, thank God, that number has decreased to a few people. During this time I had to form teams, fire dozens of people (the worst job) and interview hundreds of candidates: from secretaries to CFOs. I’ve seen a lot of my own and others’ mistakes and accomplishments.
In this article, I’m going to tell you about 20 proven ways to move toward success at work.
1. Know your power! (Sounds like a phrase from Star Wars)). The best job in the world is not the one that pays more, but the one where you can maximize and use your strongest, personal and professional qualities and talents. And money and success are sure to come.
On average, a person spends 8 hours at work for 40-45 years. No amount of money is worth spending that time in a boring and unloving job. It will destroy your personality.
2. Even a bad plan is better than no plan. Can’t clearly answer the question, “How do you see your career in the next 3, 5 and 10 years?” – You’ll be where you are now in 10 years. You don’t have to have a super plan, as any plan will change over time. But it is important to have one.
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3. Choose the company, not the salary and title of the position. Talented and hardworking employees, in successful companies, “break through” very quickly and those companies give those employees the best opportunities, experience and salary. In companies where the opinion of an employee is not valued, where initiative is not encouraged, where negative and depressive moods are in the team, you will not be “happy”, no matter how much money you are paid.
Often at interviews, candidates can’t really answer what they know about the company they came to interview for. If they are too lazy to find out this information, or if they don’t care where they will spend a few years of their lives, they won’t care about the company either! Such candidates are immediately “scrapped,” no matter how impressive their resume is!
4. Focus on strengths.
Successful companies and successful people learn how to make the most of their strengths, rather than spending too much effort fixing weaknesses. This does not mean that you can forget about weaknesses. The important thing is to minimize their impact on your results. No more than that.
5. “I don’t care what you think of me. I don’t think about you at all!” (Coco Chanel). Don’t pay much attention to what other people say about you. People will always talk, especially about those who are moving forward rather than stomping around. Don’t let this “noise” influence your decisions. But listen carefully to the opinions of people who have achieved something in life, and whose opinion is very important and authoritative for you.
6. Keep learning at all times! It does not matter what position you are in, what company you work for, what kind of seniority you have! If the last time you studied, took a course, read educational literature, was at school or university – it’s an alarming signal. The brain, like the body, requires constant training.
7. There is no such thing as a perfect job. In every job, at every level, at every salary, there are boring, mundane and nasty things you don’t want to do, but have to do! If you expect a job to always be interesting, you are in a land of illusions. Only you, not the company or your boss, can make the work interesting – try innovations and novelties, get new knowledge, expand your functions, communicate with positive and successful colleagues, change your attitude to work, etc.
8. Don’t jump from place to place, looking for a better job, too often. Personally, as a manager, I try not to waste time on candidates who change jobs every six months or a year and a half.
“A garden often replanted bears no fruit.” – Plutarch
Candidates tell interesting stories about why they switched jobs, but I know that if a person changes jobs frequently, he
- he doesn’t have the brains to take the time at the company selection stage and accepts whatever he can and then realizes it’s “not his.”
- he’s “ballast.” The employer fires the weakest employees first.
- He hasn’t tried anything because it takes time to realize himself.
- He won’t stay with us because he looks at his job only as a way to get a paycheck, not as a place where he will spend most of his life.
9. “I and the horse, I and the bull, I and the woman and the man.” It has been proven by numerous studies that our brains cannot effectively do ten things at once. Most books on increasing our own efficiency and my 15 years of experience show that the best way to finish something is to do it without being distracted by anything else: phone calls, emails, social media, reminders, notifications, etc. The most valuable employees are the ones who can get things done quickly, without reminders.
10. Group similar tasks. In continuation of the previous point. If tasks are pouring out of the horn of plenty, a great trick is to group them. Make all your phone calls at the same time, not 20 times during the day; respond to emails, like twice a day, without being distracted each time; group meetings with co-workers at the same time, etc.
11. don’t be afraid of competition.
Don’t be afraid to hire a strong employee or ask for help from colleagues. The strategy where you try to do everything yourself in order to get all the rewards and praise or to do the job in the best way (it’s faster for me to do it myself than to teach and check someone) only works at entry levels. At middle and high levels of career this strategy shows lack of process and people management skills, inefficiency and unreasonableness (why waste precious time on tasks that less qualified employees can do).
12. don’t chase perfect completion of tasks. A good plan today is better than a great plan tomorrow. Very often, in the pursuit of perfection or engaging in endless planning, we miss opportunities and valuable time, wasting vast amounts of our own and our colleagues’ time on unimportant little things. This strategy shows indecision, inability or unwillingness to make decisions.
13. Don’t compare yourself to anyone. Your acquaintance, your colleague, or your boss has achieved this and that, and I haven’t, and it’s unfair, etc. Such comparisons will do nothing but make you depressed. The only true way to compare yourself is to compare yourself to yourself. How have you changed in the last year or two or three, as a person and as a professional? Stop feeling sorry for yourself, change something about yourself and everyone else will notice.
14. Stick to successful people. Unfortunately, every team, from time to time, has “toxic” employees who are constantly dissatisfied with everything, complaining, criticizing everyone and everything, and thereby poisoning the lives of themselves and others. You have to “get rid of” such people as quickly as possible if you are a manager, and minimize communication with them if you are their colleague. It is impossible to correct them. Stick with successful people – they will infect you with their energy and optimism and teach you a lot.
A bad mood is a state of mind, a good mood is a lot of work on yourself.
15. Come to the boss with solutions, not problems. Before you go to your boss with a problem, answer the following questions on paper:
- What are the important numbers that define this problem? (time, money, possible losses, personnel costs, etc. resources, etc.)
- what options do you have for solving the problem?
- what is your recommendation? what would you do if you were the boss and why?
16. Don’t say your-career-killer phrases like “I don’t know,” “I can’t,” “it’s not my responsibility.” Instead of “I don’t know,” especially in situations where that knowledge is expected of you, you can say, “From what I know ….” and add what little you know about the problem or how you think to approach it, and then tactfully take time to work through the question. It won’t be a perfect answer, but it’s better than the deadpan “I don’t know.” Instead of “I can’t,” you can say, “Give me some time and I’ll think about how to do it.” Instead of “It’s not my responsibility,” you can say, “I’ll talk to my colleagues who are responsible for this issue and offer them my help.”
17. Don’t “burn bridges.” Always try to leave well, even if it seems like you have been treated unfairly. The world is a very small place, and the business world especially. Former employers and colleagues can still be of use many times – they can tell you how to solve a problem in a new place, give you recommendations for a new job, share contacts and clients, you can hire former colleagues to your team or you can be hired by a manager from your old job, etc.
18. Encourage publicly, “punish” personally. Public insults are the most painful. People do not forget or forgive them. By insulting, humiliating, and scolding someone publicly, you show yourself in a very low, unprofessional, and unworthy light. Conversely, by publicly encouraging someone’s, even small successes, you show yourself to be a good leader and person.
19. great mood and energy.
Nothing helps in work as much as a good mood, energy and a smile. Conversely, nothing is more depressing and destructive than complaining and hating your job. Can’t change your job, change your attitude and focus on the good.
20. Sports. In a healthy body – a healthy spirit! Exercise gives incredible tone and energy. Do not set huge and unrealizable goals. Start by filling your day with small sport activities – do exercises in the morning, give up the elevator, walk one subway stop every day, take a 15 minute walk in the afternoon, etc. Once you achieve small goals, it will be easier for you to set bigger ones.
Conclusion. In my case I was greatly helped in my career: constant learning, English, programming skills and building information systems, no fear of big and difficult tasks, sports and good mood and the fact that I always sticked to people who have achieved a lot in life and from whom there was something to learn.
Remember: by changing your salary by even $50 a month, you get $600 a year! That’s an impressive amount that will allow you to do a lot for your family and set aside a lot of money to increase your Net Assets, one of the most important financial numbers in everyone’s life.
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8 ways to become a better employee for your boss
It’s a fact of professional life that someone has to choose you to be successful. Usually this someone is your immediate boss, and it is worth doing everything in your power to make yourself a valued employee for this important person.
Success, Power, and Politics in the Workplace
Before we delve into a number of ideas on how to make yourself even more valuable to your boss, let’s consider the question of who needs to pick you to succeed. More than a few people have suggested that this mindset devalues the importance of individual determination and hard work.
The polite rebuttal is that nothing replaces or minimizes the need for this behavior-it is necessary for success. But for your efforts to pay off in an organizational setting, your hard work must be recognized and appreciated by some person or group of people who can choose you to do more.
Yes, power and politics play a role in your success, no matter how hard you work. Senior managers select people for promotion based on how much they trust the employee to make the right decisions to lead initiatives or manage teams.
This trust is cultivated through experience working together and the ample evidence that the person being considered for promotion consistently demonstrates sound judgment when it comes to working with others, solving problems, setting priorities, and achieving results that help the organization.
Because many promotion opportunities are challenging tasks for us-more so than our previous experiences-this trust factor is critical. The person giving us a new opportunity trusts that we will grow to it quickly and safely.
Given the importance of trust and the power your boss has to choose for you, it’s important for you to help make his/her decision easy when it comes to considering new opportunities.
But diligence in your work won’t be out of place.
Even if the job is low-paying, it must be done conscientiously.
If you do the bare minimum of your assigned duties, your bosses probably won’t consider you the best worker to qualify for a bonus or promotion. You should not be afraid of work for fear that it will not be paid extra. There are, of course, many unscrupulous people among employers. Still, you should not think badly of your manager. Do more than you are required to do, and success will come.
At work you should not be lazy. Laziness is a bad habit, difficult to overcome. But nothing is impossible. The best way is to motivate yourself to achieve small goals, increasing the number or complexity of the work should be done gradually.
One must strive to understand and support the goals of the supervisor
Nothing says, “I care about my commitment,” than seeking to understand and support your boss’s priorities and goals. Not every boss has professional goals and personal aspirations, so you may have to do some digging. Use the rationale that you want your goals to align with his goals. Ask clarifying questions.
Communicate with your supervisor to the right extent.
Every manager has slightly different communication preferences. Some appreciate detailed, regular updates. Others are more interested in noteworthy exceptions. Pay attention to cues, including interest or boredom, and adjust your behavior accordingly. And it never hurts to ask, “How often and what details do you prefer to discuss so I can communicate with you?”
Be careful of gossip
The magnetic pull of gossip is potentially dangerous to your career. Stay away from most of these group gatherings and their negative banter. Nevertheless, it is worth keeping your ears and eyes open for bits of truth often present in workplace gossip.
If you find out that people don’t understand the firm’s direction or its latest strategy, this is important information for your boss. Filter truth from fiction, but don’t discount conversations that highlight organizational shortcomings and opportunities.
Save him from unwanted surprises
No one likes negative surprises, least of all your boss. If you see or feel something is going wrong, run to him as soon as possible to share that information. Your advance warning will allow you to mitigate the problem or at least plan how to share it with upper management in the organization.
Always have a plan when you go to the executive’s office
The most devastating words for a boss are, “What do you think I should do?” Take that phrase out of your vocabulary and remember to always walk into the executive’s office with a plan – preferably have it in two versions with one preferred. Be prepared to back up your recommendation.
Remember, re-educating your boss is unacceptable. It is better to change your attitude towards his working methods and adjust your own behavior.
By all means try to get into the shoes of his boss, so to speak – “get into his skin. Most often we do not like some actions of the head, thus we protect ourselves, we perceive from the offensive and negative, even if the reasons are absent.
We need to look at the boss with a positive and respect him. You’ll see, this will help build relationships. After all, we all have both negative and positive sides. And if you look at everyone and everything from a positive perspective, people will reach out to us, including management.
Build allies and strengthen the organization’s position
Whether you admit it or not, you are your boss’s ambassador when it comes to his or her reputation and ability to select and develop good people. Act accordingly. Armed with the context of your boss’s priorities, try to build allies and represent those interests in the spirit of strengthening the organization. Also, work hard to understand the priorities of other leaders and groups and make sure your boss has that intelligence to apply to his or her efforts.
Show your work without being pushy.
Smart professionals master the art of showing off their successes without crossing the line. Modesty is not your ally when it comes to building credibility to move forward. Be sure to mention someone who has helped you get good results.
Develop other people’s talents.
Nothing will affect your selection for promotion more than your proven ability to develop talent.
Ignoring the realities of power and politics in your organization is naive. Recognize the power of your boss in choosing you to be successful and act accordingly.
It is important to understand, everything said in this article is only true if the boss is a perfectly adequate, professional person. But if you are subordinate to a rich man, who was appointed to this position, for example, because of his family ties, then the above rules simply will not work. In such a situation it is difficult to advise anything, sometimes it is easier to change the place.