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Have a Fun and Amazing Career in 9 Easy Steps

Have a Fun and Amazing Career in 9 Easy Steps

When you think about how much time you spend at work, it can be staggering: 45-plus years, at least 11,250 work days, and over 90,000 hours make up an average career. It’s absolutely vital that you love what you do. Have a fun and amazing career by following these 9 easy steps.

1. Do what you love.

Easier said than done, but the best way to have a fun and amazing career is to do what you love. While playing video games or surfing Facebook might not pay the bills, you can focus on a career that offers you the opportunity to do things you love everyday. Finding that spark, that something special that gets you to jump out of bed and happily go to work is the difference between a boring job and an exciting career.

You’ll never love everything about your job. But if you base your career on things you love, you can make any job a fun, exciting career.

2. Love what you do.

Every child picks a career that he or she thinks is the most fun, interesting, or intriguing. The reasons vary significantly. Why a fireman? Because they drive a big truck. Why a police officer? Because they wear a badge. Why a princess? Because the dress is so pretty.

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As we grow up, these reasons seem, well, childish. But there’s something important to learn from your four-year-old self. There’s something special, interesting, and unique about your chosen career. Find it. Or maybe remember what drew you to it. Sometimes it’s important to take a step back and find the great aspects of what we do and remember why we did it in the first place.

Whether you spent four years of college honing your skills for a particular career or simply responded to a want ad from the newspaper, remember the reasons you chose what you do and do more of those things. And if that’s impossible? Find a place where you can flourish. When you find and focus on the things you love, you’ll have a much more fun and amazing career.

3. Laugh. Find the positives in the chaos.

In nearly every workplace there are people who love and hate what they are doing. It’s the same job, same people, same space, but drastically different levels of happiness. The difference? Often times it’s the ability to laugh and find the humor in your daily duties. Find reasons to laugh at work. When things undoubtably go wrong, find the positives. A happy, healthy culture can be established by how you deal with problems. Take them seriously. Learn from them. But take the time to laugh.

4. Don’t sweat the small stuff.

Remember those 90,000 hours from before? When you spend that much time doing anything there’s going to be problems. How you react to those problems will be a huge factor in loving your career and having fun at work. Find the positives and learn to let the small things go.

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Just like tiny cracks in a dam, the small things can add up to disaster. Fix the problems that can be fixed and forget the problems that don’t matter. An amazing career needs a great foundation and relies on everyone to do their part.

5. Love your co-workers… or at least find common ground.

The idea is simple. The people you spend time with matter. If you have the power, hire great people. If you don’t, make a conscious effort to get along with the people who work along side you. You may have different styles, beliefs, and values. Find the common ground and focus on those things. Come together through the work. Stay positive and stay out of the mud-slinging that creeps into the workplace.

Bad relationships with your co-workers can quickly derail any career. By focusing on creating and maintaining real, honest relationships with your co-workers and finding where you have common ground, you can limit stress and have an amazing career.

6. Take chances.

Complacency is the enemy of innovation. Never be afraid to go against the grain and take a chance, but don’t make change for change sake. Prepare, research, and understand your decision. Spend the time to ensure you’ve looked at each angle and come to a decision that you will not regret. And then boldly, confidently take the chance. When your decisions are rooted in self-awareness, you can be bold, take chances, and not regret your decisions. Serve the world in a big way and you will reap the benefits as well.

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7. Think big. No, bigger. Now develop a plan to get there.

You have, within you, the ability to do great things. Find ways to un-tap your potential by thinking big. Develop your goals for your career and shoot high. Make goals that seem out of your reach. And then develop a plan to make them happen. Big dreams are accomplished every day. The key is breaking down this big, hairy, audacious goal into bite-sized chunks that you can accomplish.

When you have a road-map to your end-goal, it makes the daily grind to get there much more fun. Instead of slogging through another day at the office, you are building towards your end goal. If you stay on the path, and regularly redefine your goals to keep things fresh, you can truly have an amazing career.

8. Choose your battles wisely.

Be strong in your opinions. But be humble and wise when delivering them. Think about what you believe, understand your views, and develop keen understanding of what you find important and what you are willing to compromise. By planning ahead and challenging your own views, you can choose which battles to fight, and which to concede. Compromise is a vital ability to a successful, amazing career, but so too is standing your ground. By planning ahead, you can make the right decision and understand your positions.

9. Be the best.

Sometimes the best advice is the simplest. Be the best. When you’re the best at what you do, a rewarding career will follow. Take time to hone your craft. Be diligent. Seek the help you need to be the best. Doors will open when you’re the best at your craft and an amazing, fun career will follow.

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You’re career will be a long, winding road, with numerous peaks and valleys. You have the ability to have a fun and amazing career. Go out and make it happen.

Featured photo credit: paul bica via flickr.com

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Kyle Robbins

Founder, BrandingBeard.com

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Last Updated on December 5, 2018

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

How to Lead a Team More Effectively and Be a True Leader at Work

Being an efficient manager and a charismatic boss at the same time can seem like an impossible task. Is there a way to deliver the desired results for your business while remaining liked and respected by your staff?

We all know bad examples of team leaders who seem to fail at one aspect or the other, or even at both. But we’ve also heard of awesome managers who seem to juggle both things well enough.

How do they do it?

By sticking to few proven ways that let them maintain a positive karma score while remaining efficient. In this article, we’ll guide you through 11 smart management tips on how to lead a team and become something more than a boss – a leader.

1. Find a Management Strategy and Stick to It

There’s nothing worse than a boss that keeps changing his or her opinions and assignments depending on their mood or a book they read this week. Chaotic decisions increase the insecurity and frustration of your team, so you better find your strategy and stick to it.

If you do find some new methods you want your staff to follow, make sure they don’t contradict the general direction you are taking. Otherwise, you risk making your team take one step forward and two steps back.

2. Set Goals​ and Track Progress in Reaching Them

Set individual and collective goals​ for your team and track the progress in reaching them. This might sound obvious at first, but too often we find ourselves stuck between daily customer requests and monthly reports, and the bigger goal or vision seems to fade away.

According to Elon Musk (and many other successful CEOs around the Globe), it’s crucial to have a clear and motivating aim to where the company is heading. His aim for the space transportation company SpaceX is “to make humankind a multi-planetary species”.[1] That’s a huge goal but the company is slowly moving closer to it by reaching smaller steps and milestones, like launching self-landing rockets. This is also a very inspiring and meaningful goal that helps employees endure the company’s extremely high expectations and 60 to 70-hour work weeks.[2]

Even if your goals are not as grand, setting and reaching milestones will give you a clear insight into the team’s overall efficiency and daily progress. With time, you will be able to see the weak spots and improve your results.​

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3. Demand Learning from Your Team

CEO of print on demand startup Printful, Davis Siksnans, believes that:[3]

“The key for a company going through rapid growth is to empower your employees’ self-development.”

His company with 500 employees spanning two continents demands a culture of learning and provides all the tools necessary to do it.

Their idea is –  as the company scales, people have to grow in their positions too, which means that they have to be constantly learning. Siksnans says:

“We try to hire people for what they might become, but they need to have that drive.“

Alternatively, you can provide educational courses for your employees or invite informal lecturers to educate and inspire your team. You can also encourage peer-to-peer learning by asking employees to teach their particular experience or skill to co-workers.

4. Invest in a Pleasant Work Environment

Studies show that a well-designed office environment can increase your team’s overall performance by as much as 20%. You’ll be surprised to see that even very small interior tweaks that don’t require major investments can improve your workers’ performance.

Some ideas for a more productive and pleasing work environment:

  • Invest in modern furniture – offer ergonomic chairs, standing desks, and individually arranged workplaces​.
  • Start an in-house library – reading for pleasure just 30 minutes a day is proven to be enough to become more effective at work,[4] improve focus, and deal with problems like depression and anxiety.​
  • Play jazzy office music – rhythmic background music will help workers feel more energetic and enthusiastic while doing everyday tasks.​
  • Set up entertainment or break rooms – being able to relax and have fun at work creates a strong commitment, helps employees relax and clear their minds, and boosts productivity.​
  • Bring in uplifting office decor – it’s been found that art in the workplace can boost productivity,[5] lower stress, and even encourage employees to innovate.​
  • Decorate the office with live plants for freshness and a welcoming feel. Furthermore, plants are found to ensure better air quality and increase workers’ productivity by 15%.[6]

5. Be Kind and Sincere to Your Team

Did you know that 50% of employees quit because they dislike working with their manager?[7] In fact, most times when people leave their jobs they actually leave their managers. Being friendly and sincere may not be enough to be a successful manager, but it’s a big part of it.

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Some ways to show you appreciate and care for your staff:

  • Celebrate the progress and achievements of your employees. And don’t be shy to simply say thanks.​
  • Talk to your employees regularly and really listen to what they have to say. Address their concerns, help them reach their goals and do your best to improve their work and daily life.
  • If you’re having a bad day, don’t pour out your stress and anger on the staff. Instead, try to recharge yourself by appreciating the achievements of your team and setting the next goals.
  • Try not to overload your team with work. Every company has rush periods when it’s okay to have more work than usual. But remember that people cannot work under prolonged pressure and stress.
  • Don’t be selfish – it can be very demotivating to see that the manager only focuses on what you can do for him and doesn’t care about your goals and well-being.​ As the CEO of Xerox Anne M. Mulcahy put it,[8]

    “Employees who believe that management is concerned about them as a whole person — not just an employee — are more productive, more satisfied, more fulfilled.”

Whenever you are having doubts about your kind attitude, remember – satisfied employees are productive employees which lead to satisfied customers and eventually – success for your company.

6. Offer Flexible Work Hours

The traditional Monday to Friday, 9 to 5 job is beginning to slip away. Increasingly more people are working remotely or having flexible work hours, and we can expect this trend to continue. To adapt to these changing habits and remain competitive in the labor market, more employers are offering the chance to choose your own work hours, work from home or even from another city or country.

Offering flexible hours is a powerful way to inspire your existing staff and give them intrinsic motivation. Why not let your employees choose their preferred working hours while keeping the 8-hour day? For example, night owls are unhappy and unproductive if they have to come to work before 10 AM, while others might prefer to start at 7 and finish earlier.

You can go even farther and hire remote workers – this way you’ll be able to recruit from a global talent pool and even save money on office expenses like desks, stationery, electricity, etc.[9]

7. Track Your Team’s Productive Time

Not monitoring your employees’ progress and efficiency can result in poor performance and slacking. Instead of letting things go with the flow, you should consider installing time-tracking software on your employees’ computers and see who’s doing great and who might need a productivity boost.

But don’t get it wrong – there’s no need to become big brother and watch every step your employees take. If you use the time-tracker as a spying tool, you will only see increasing suspicion and insecurity around you, and your employees’ happiness levels will drop.

On the contrary, choose software that allows employees to mark private time that won’t be tracked. In addition, consider these time-management tactics:

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  • Allow flexible work hours. (see Tip No 6)
  • Encourage breaks – studies show that employees who take regular breaks are more productive than those who don’t.[10]
  • Enable remote work to show your employees that you trust them and that they can work from home or even from another country (if they can maintain sufficient productivity).
  • Consider offering bonuses to your most productive employees (those who show productivity levels above 90 or 95%).

8. Use Only Constructive Criticism

Constructive criticism means offering valid and rational opinions about the work of others, involving both positive comments and remarks about what should be improved. Constructive criticism is usually expressed in a friendly manner rather than an oppositional one.

When you evaluate your team’s work, give them feedback that’s helpful, specific, and sincere. Don’t be shy to praise, but also be direct and even strict when necessary.

9. Don’t Give Special Treatment to Yourself

The boss’s actions are – directly or indirectly – observed by your team. This means that your employees look up to you and often mimic your attitude towards your work and the company – especially if your actions don’t show commitment. Nobody wants to work for a leader who doesn’t go all in or inspire motivation.

What you should do is lead by example. If you expect your employees to arrive at work on time and work 8 hours, do the same yourself. If you want them to show initiative, show it yourself and encourage others to do the same.

Jeff Weiner is the CEO of LinkedIn – a company of 3,000 employees that consistently ranks as one of the best workplaces with a 92 percent employee-approval rating.[11] Weiner’s workdays are reported to be equally long or even longer than those of his employees, allowing him to stay “extremely credible as a leader.”

10. Empower Your Employees

Here’s a common mistake many managers make:

They don’t motivate their staff and assume they simply love to work for their company.​ Such belief can result in painful losses for the company – especially these days when many companies are in desperate need of a reliable workforce.

Instead of directly thinking about bonuses and perks, consider intrinsic motivation. For example, enable flat organization in your team and listen to your employees’ ideas when they come up with opinions and suggestions. Your company might actually benefit a great deal from the feedback, and the unique ideas employees come up with.

You can also start an initiative where employees can freely share or pitch their business ideas to you or the founders of the company. If the idea is accepted by the management, the project can be developed, and the employee can have equity options.

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If people feel they have an impact in the company, they become more motivated, engaged and interested in the company’s growth.

11. Nurture Your Company Culture

Company culture is the personality of a company that defines the overall work environment and relationships between teammates. It also includes company mission, values, ethics, and goals.

Some examples of company cultures are the Horizontal corporate culture (collaborative and equal; popular among startups and free-spirited businesses) and Conventional corporate culture (a more risk-averse and hierarchy-based approach common in traditional companies).

However, you don’t have to stick to pre-existing boxes when creating your corporate culture. You might think of your team as a family, a sports team, or even a hippie camp if it fits your business and purpose. But keep in mind that by the time a company’s size reaches 20 employees, the company culture is set,[12] and any changes will need to be implemented in smaller teams.

Whichever personality you choose for your company, make sure to live by it and nurture it. Some things that might help:

Team building events, relevant books in your office library and proper on-boarding for the new employees to get everyone on the same page from the very beginning.

Be a Leader, Not a Boss

Using the words of Printful’s CEO Davis Siksnans, the ultimate goal is to “Hire great people who don’t have to be managed.”

However, when you do need to demonstrate some initiative and control, act as a leader rather than as a boss.

In other words, don’t be afraid to show the personality behind your role. And keep these 11 tips close to your heart.

Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

Reference

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