While “work hard and do your best” is of course good advice for advancing in your job, those ideas can be a little abstract. Here are some specific suggestions for perspectives and practices that will help boost your performance and your position in order to get ahead at work.
1. Deliver More Than is Asked For
Your career is, in many ways, like the rest of life: go the extra mile, dig deeper, and it will pay off. Maybe not every time, maybe not as quickly as you’d like, and maybe not in ways you will recognize immediately, but eventually it will. Have faith in yourself that even if it seems like your boss or coworkers aren’t noticing your extra effort (or worse yet, are taking the credit for it), the investment you are making in yourself by delivering more than is asked for is a worthy one. More often than not, your extra effort will be recognized and you will be compensated for it in one way or another. Here’s a tip to help put that over-deliver mentality into action: think “Plus One.” There is always one extra step that can enhance every project or assignment. Think of the Plus One in every opportunity.
2. Don’t be a Vocational Snob
When you get a certain procedure down and feel like a pro at it, challenge yourself to take your duties a step further and learn something more about the thing you seem to already know everything about. The world never stays the same…life never stays the same…there is always more to learn. Don’t write off the veterans in your industry. They are still around for a reason. Observe their good work habits and emulate them. Conversely, the older you get, the more people there will be who are younger than you who are as good as, if not better, than you at your work. Choose an attitude of growth vs. being intimidated and stay open to learning from anyone and everyone, including the newbies.
3. Say Thanks…Creatively
Don’t save your gratitude for the fourth Thursday in November or “customer appreciation day.” If a client, colleague, vendor, coworker or your boss does something worthy of you saying thanks, do it. And, be smart about it: say thanks in the format that will stand out the most to them. One more email in their inbox might not be the way to go. Given the giant wave of digital communication every person in the professional world is surfing every single day, a good, old-fashioned, hand-written note might cement you in someone’s mind as a unique and extraordinary individual.
4. Make Your Boss Look Good
Too many people are consumed with how to make themselves look good. Take a tip from the late Zig Ziglar: “You can get everything you want out of life if you help enough other people get what they want.” Apply that principle to how you work for your boss. What does she need? What stresses him out? What would make her life easier? What would make him look good? What information does she need for her boss? Remember that making your boss look good should not come at the expense of making others look bad. Nobody, including your boss, likes a suck-up. Be prepared, anticipate needs/problems, and aim to always put your boss in a positive light.
5. Be Bold
Not obnoxious. Not pushy. Being bold means taking action to do the right thing, despite fear and discomfort. It isn’t about being obnoxious, slick, or manipulative. To be bold is to initiate strong, positive action at a time when others would give in and take the easy path. Be bold and watch your career advance!
Featured photo credit: How to Climb the Corporate Ladder Effectively via ehow.com
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