If You Want to Shine at Work, Do These 5 Things.
Standing out in the work environment is difficult, especially if you work in a big team or at a company where excellence is the norm. So, how can you be someone who doesn’t just show up and get the work done, but who shines and excels while doing it?
To help you become a career superstar, take a look through a list of our top five lessons to help you shine at work and make the most out of your career.
1. Write down your goals
Accomplishing your goals is similar to planning a trip: once you decide where you want to go, you have to plan how you’re going to get there, your time frame, and which steps you need to take along the way to reach your destination if you want to actually arrive there. Having goals is important for staying focused in the long run, since just showing up for the daily grind isn’t enough to help you take big career leaps.
Putting your plans on a concrete time frame will help you stay on track so you don’t put your big goals and dreams on the back burner when life, work and other responsibilities get in the way. Prioritize your goals to make them happen.
2. Ask for feedback
When you invite feedback from your boss or team members you make it possible to truly become great. By getting outside opinions on your work, you are suddenly able to improve more quickly than if you are relying solely on your own evaluations. Other people have different perspectives, values and insights to share — by inviting as many of them as possible, you provide yourself a wealth of knowledge to make yourself even better.
The next important factor to asking for feedback is to try what’s recommended. Feedback can’t help if you don’t do anything with it. You may later decide you don’t like the new method, but trying it shows you are open to critique and doing things a new way if it’s better.
3. Handle bad situations like a leader
Not every day at work is great, and as a leader, sometimes it’s your job to tell everyone when there’s bad news. Whether it’s a negative performance review or announcing a cancelled project, here are important tips for delivering bad news effectively.
Deliver the news in person to show you care and so you can respond to the employee or team’s reaction in an appropriate and timely manner. If an employee isn’t performing, tell him or her immediately, rather than waiting until the only option left is firing the person. Give him or her the benefit of the doubt, listen to his or her concerns, and be open to emotion — remember you’ve had time to process your feelings, but this bad news is brand new to the other person.
4. Banish multitasking
Humans can only do one cognitive task at a time, so “multitasking” is just about the worst mechanism for being efficient. Studies show task-switching can cost a person as much as 40% of productive time.
Instead of switching back and forth between projects, try following the OHIO principle: Only Handle It Once. This means if you start something, finish it before moving on to your next task. A great way to stick to the OHIO principle is to schedule blocks of time for you to check emails, respond to messages, check voice mails, or any other necessary tasks that pose distractions during the day.
5. Get to know your team
No matter how much you prefer to work alone, or how much of a genius you are, we all need other people to help us succeed. It’s not practical to do everything yourself, and it is simply true that opportunities come from other people — they don’t appear out of thin air. Authentic relationships are necessary for success, so instead of trying to build a relationship when you need something, start building those relationships now.
All it takes is an hour of your time: every week, take a peer or someone in your department out to coffee. Let them know it’s your treat and all you want to do is get together and chat.
Ask them about their background, their goals, their career trajectory… become invested in who they are. When you get to know your work community, you will understand their personalities and work habits, and the better you’ll be able to work together.
On top of that, you’ll be investing in trust and good communication with the people who have the closest and biggest impact on your career success. The stronger your team relationships, the better the overall performance and the more successful you all become.