Our Experts | Claudia Schieve
Degrees, certifications, training sessions, mentoring and shadowing; these are all great opportunities to expand your knowledge of your field and further your career. Did you know there are other things you can do to enhance your performance at work? And get this… they require little talent or additional skills!
Read on to learn six important qualifications to help you be more successful at your job.
Be on time! Punctuality is a great habit to employ in both your professional and personal life. As much as it may seem like timeliness is a given, there are many people who struggle with being on time. Not naturally an early riser? Check out this article for a couple quick modifications you can make to your routine, and you too can become a morning person!
Being chronically late does not necessarily imply laziness and it doesn’t always mean you’re a bad worker. Everyone’s situation is different. You might make up your time by taking a shorter lunch, or by staying late. If you are this person, don’t feel judged! I understand, because I have been in your shoes.
I read an article once that suggested optimistic people are oftentimes the ones who run late because they’re hopeful that they can fit more tasks into a limited amount of time, i.e. in the morning before leaving for work. I identified with that article because I also wake up plenty early enough, but still find myself running around my apartment like a wild woman trying to accomplish various duties right before I’m out the door.
So, late birds, I sympathize but the general consensus is that earlier is better. Yes, you may make up your hours for the week and you may be the optimistic chronic late person. You can blame your lateness on the way your brain is wired and you can make excuses about the traffic that regularly peppers your commute, but the truth is, those excuses are going to get old to a lot of people really quickly. In the end, being on time just looks better.
Being on time is great, being early is even better. It shows you have respect for others’ time and that you are a true professional.
2. Be a Team Player
Being a team player is a positive quality for any type of career field. Do your best to work well with others. Take responsibility for your actions and mistakes. Give credit where credit is due.
A phrase that came up often in one of my past jobs was “It’s a WE program.” Approaching both positive and negative occurrences with a team attitude is often the best route to take for everyone involved.
When great accomplishments happen in the workplace, don’t forget about your team and who helped you along the way to accomplishing your goal. When something goes wrong, even if it might not have been you who had a mix up or made an error, it shows good character to refrain from pointing fingers and throwing your co-workers under the bus. Knowing that if one member of your team messes up, then the whole team messes up, helps to build moral and good camaraderie in the workplace.
To be productive in the workplace, you must aspire to produce quality work in a reasonable amount of time. Avoid falling into the habit of only doing the minimum amount required to get by.
Is your workload light this week? Ask your supervisor if you can take on an extra project. Check with your co-workers to see if they have any goals you can help them accomplish. It’s better and more impressive to go above and beyond instead of sitting idly by, waiting for work to be assigned to you.
Do your best to stay on task. Don’t procrastinate by checking Facebook, Twitter or other social media too often. Make yourself aware of which projects require more time by keeping a document to log the hours you spend on various tasks. You might be surprised to see where most of your time is going.
Are you taking extra long lunches or hanging out at the coffee station more often than necessary? Don’t get me wrong… breaks are important and I love a funny cat video as much as the next person, but it is beneficial to keep them limited throughout your work day and to try not to get too sidetracked wasting valuable time. You may want to try this tactic from The Atlantic which states the formula for perfect productivity is to work for 52 minutes, break for 17 and then repeat the cycle.
At the end of the day, take a look at your performance and ask yourself “Would I hire me?” Strive to be the type of employee you would want working for you.
4. Positive Attitude
Starting the workday with a “glass half full” attitude can have a big impact on how productive and enjoyable your day will be. If you head in with a smile and optimism, your coworkers will take notice and chances are, your positive outlook will rub off on them too.
Has a co-worker helped you recently? Be appreciative! If people take time out of their workday to answer questions and help you out, make sure you let them know how much it means to you by thanking them. Return the favor later on, if you can.
Volunteer your time by joining committees, getting involved in workplace extracurricular events and going on team outings to build relationships with other employees. The Entrepreneur stated that “78 percent of people who work 30 to 50 hours a week spend more time with coworkers than with their families,” so do what you can to make the most of your work experience. Take time to celebrate birthdays, anniversaries and holidays. Be on the lookout for opportunities to experience company culture and you will enjoy coming to work that much more.
Set goals and know what you want to accomplish each day.. Have a plan!
Are you calling a meeting? Even if it is just a one-on-one with your boss to talk about next steps, it is helpful to prepare an outline or agenda, including talking points. Have a purpose for the meeting. What action items do you want to come out of the meeting? Bring examples. Have something to show for what you have been working on. Doing these things will help you present your ideas in a clear way. Without clear messaging, you are less likely to accomplish your end goals.
Being mentally prepared is equally important. Get a good night’s sleep. Get up early enough to get things done before you head out the door. (See #1) Doing this allows you to go into work in the morning with a clear head. You can give your full attention to your job and leave the personal distractions at home.
6. Be Coachable
It is imperative to possess the ability to accept feedback and constructive criticism from your supervisors and peers without being defensive. Unfortunately, sometimes we struggle with this and take the critique as an attack on our work.
In the heat of the moment, it can be a challenge for some to respond calmly to the person giving the feedback, but remember they are just trying to be helpful. View this time as an opportunity to learn and grow professionally. Be open to change and new perspectives. This is a chance to improve your skills and the end product. Be a good listener and remember to say thank you for the feedback. Make sure to ask any questions you may have so you fully understand the critiques.
This is by no means an exhaustive list, but it is a good place to start taking steps to becoming more successful in the workplace. Begin employing these practices and your co-workers will notice the change!
It’s not about having “skills” but about controlling things that can’t be trained. Become more successful in the workplace by just changing your behavior and attitude.