Reaching your potential in the workplace is an exciting prospect. Yet many of us have simply not found the right job (or the right organization) to reach the heights of achievement. Many people, especially those fresh out of college, start off in jobs that are far below their potential. In time, well-managed companies provide promotions and training to get every employee to reach her potential. To figure out if you are reaching your potential, read on.
1. Your tasks are easy
Day after day you complete your tasks with ease. Your forgot what it is like to face a challenge at work. That’s the essence of being in a role where you are not reaching your potential. A job that pushes you to work hard and overcome difficulties, in contrast, is a job that encourages to reach new heights.
Before you decide to quit, take the time to look for new challenges. For example, consider scheduling a meeting with your manager to ask for additional responsibilities. Getting new tasks to learn is one way to start growing your potential again.
Reminder: Challenging work is what keeps you growing to meet your potential.
2. You cannot find anything to learn
Learning is essential to growth. When you are new to a job, you are constantly learning. Over time, you can continue to learn from taking courses and learning from your own mistakes. In some cases, you may simply have nothing left to learn. If you have reflected on your job, asked your manager for suggestions and learned what your coworkers do, then it may be time to seek a new opportunity.
Tip: Grow your career by finding new tasks to master. It’s one key to preparing yourself for promotion and staying engaged at work.
3. You have developed all the connections you can
Every job gives you the potential to develop and grow your network. For example, you may customers, back office support staff and sales representatives. Over time, many of these people will become familiar faces and your network will not grow as fast. At that point, you can leave the role or take an active approach to developing your network (e.g. meeting people outside your company or join an association).
Tip: To expand your internal network, join office committees (e.g. health and safety committee or the social committee). These can be a great way to meet people from other departments.
4. You have exhausted the options for process improvement
Every job and organization has the potential for improvement. When you learn a task for the first time, you may notice all kinds of possible improvements. Over time, you can apply the principles of process improvements (e.g. complete a report or delivery 1% faster than last time or eliminate one of the steps) to improve your results. Over time, you may not be able to improve your effectiveness further. If you have reached that point, you may have reached your potential
Remember: At a certain point, there are diminishing returns in process improvement, no matter how good you are.
5. There are no promotions available
In some companies and some departments, promotions are rare. For example, low growth companies may only be able to offer promotions in a few select departments (e.g. to promote sales staff). In contrast, a rapidly growing start-up company is more likely to offer promotions to staff. Promotions are one of the best ways to develop your potential at work so they matter a great deal.
To assess this point, simply ask yourself this question: In the past 12 months, how many promotions have I seen in my department? If the answer is zero, then it may be time to move on to a different role. Alternately, you may want to set schedule a meeting with your manager to ask about the promotion process.
Tip: Learn how to get ahead by reading How to Get Promoted.
6. You have no funding for training
Education and training courses are one of the best ways to grow your potential. That’s why companies like General Electric spend $1 billion per year to provide training to their staff. Self-reflection and on-the-job training have their limits. Before you quit, take the time to look for free resources such as online courses and books from your library.
Tip: Read 25 Killer Sites For Free Online Education to keep your training going even if you are on a limited budget.
7. You leave early every day
From time to time, you will need to work late to reach your potential on the job. For example, you may have to stay late to help your boss prepare a presentation. Or you may have a long day due to business travel. These are realities of the working world. On the other hand, if you are able to finish all of your work and leave early every day, then you are probably not reaching your potential.
Tip: Align your schedule to match your manager. If she or he arrives at nine each morning, aim to arrive at 8:45 a.m. It is a good way to get an early start on the day’s work.
8. You rarely receive feedback about your performance
Like it or not, feedback is a valuable tool in seeking to reach your potential. In fact, negative feedback is highly valuable because this comment tends to include suggestions to help you improve in the future. If you rarely receive feedback, you are probably not reaching your potential.
Tip: Are you struggling to make use of feedback? Read 8 Ways To Receive Feedback And Turn Them Into Your Strengths.
9. You are working in a toxic environment
Some companies and departments are simply toxic – full of complainers, gossips and even worse. Unfortunately, being surrounded by negative people at work makes it difficult for you to grow yourself. In the short term, you can work on improving your attitude and staying positive. If the situation does not change after 6 months or more, it is time to start looking for a new opportunity.
Tip: Discover if you are surrounded by toxic people and what you can do about them by reading 5 Types of Toxic Employees And How You Can Deal With Them.
10. You feel bored at work
It may be difficult to quantify, yet it is very important. If you feel bored at work, day after day, then you are probably not reaching your potential. If you feel bored once at the office, you might be tired. If you feel bored week after week, you are probably not reaching your potential.
Tip: Use the pushing boundaries strategy to expand your job; this is a great way to learn more skills and reach your potential.
Featured photo credit: Boring/Unsplash via pixabay.com