We desire success at work and a satiating career. But what does it take to get there? In this article, I have jotted down traits that I have always adhered to. These work for me. These generic guidelines transcend industries and will help you too. If widely followed, they will also make the work environment a positive place for everyone.
- Be open-minded: All workplaces are not the same. So, it is best not to bring in rigid notions about your job, your team or your company. Instead, being open-minded allows you to imbibe the company culture and to successfully navigate through its dynamics. Observe, understand and quickly calibrate yourself to your new work environment.
- Learn: Boredom at a job typically sets in when you stop learning. Consistently strive to learn new skills and to apply them more efficiently. As Tennyson says, work “to strive, to seek, to find and not to yield.” This will keep you enthused and help you deliver more value for your organization.
- Enjoy: Work with a happy spirit. When you relish your work, your passion for what you do will show. Your happy and amicable demeanor will also influence positivity in the larger organization. On the other hand, if you don’t appreciate your job, step back and re-evaluate your fit/needs and pursue your heart.
- Communicate: Listen well and respond well. It is important to know your audience so you can customize your verbal or written communication. Think ahead, anticipate follow-up questions and be ready. Ensure that your message avoids ambiguities and is not warped or lost in translation. Share information, provide timely updates and call out expectations. Don’t be afraid. Communicate.
- Set the right expectation: Right from day one, you have to draw the line on what you want to do, are willing to do, and can do. Of course, this needs to be balanced against situations that need you to step up. If you have been stretching yourself at work without indicating so to your managers, you will be setting yourself up for that level of productivity all the time. This will ultimately lead to a bad work experience.
- Be diligent: Good work ethics are a must for success. You cannot expect your workplace to reward you if your commitment to the organization is not evident. The relationship between the employee and the company is built on mutual commitment, and diligence is integral to this dynamic. These four lines sum it all- “The heights by great men reached and kept
Were not attained by sudden flight,
But they, while their companions slept,
Were toiling upward in the night.”
- Be yourself: You shine best when you are your natural self. Attempting to be someone you are not will result in unhappiness and also stunt success. When you have an artificial persona at work, you will also be outshone by others who can naturally perform similar responsibilities as their flair and interest levels will be much higher than yours.
- Be a good human: This one is closest to my heart. Your work place, much like your life outside of it, is all about people & relationships. Be it your bosses, peers, other teams, reports or customers, please display empathy. Put yourself in their shoes and appreciate the alternate perspective. In some situations, empathy and kindness are branded as weaknesses. On the contrary, they generate trust and foster a great working environment.
The truth is that there is no universal framework for success at work. It depends on individual capabilities and company DNA among other things. It also rests on whether you love what you do. However, you ill maximize the chances of your success by following a set of rules. The tenets I have articulated here resonate with me. Hope they provide you a basis for realizing your career goals too.
I would love to hear from you on other metrics you use. Please also comment if you disagree with this framework. Perhaps that will help me finesse my approach further.