Do you like your job? Do you want a promotion? Regardless of your answer here, excelling at work is important. We want to be the best employees we can be, so what does it take to impress our managers at work?
The following may seem obvious, but understanding these ideas can take you far. Once you put them into action, your attitude and performance will shine above everything and everyone else.
1. Have a vision and goals.
First and foremost, remind yourself of where you want to be and what you’re doing to get there. Having milestones along the way is a good reminder of our success and why we are striving to perform.
Both long-term and short-term incentives help us stay disciplined in our endeavors. Sometimes I get called into work when I don’t want to, but I remind myself that it’s more money, and more money leads to more luxuries.
I also constantly remind myself of where I expect to be in five years, and how this is just one of many steps in the right direction.
2. Work for the career you want, not the job you have.
Careers and jobs are two different things. Maybe you’re not in the position you want yet. That doesn’t mean you should perform at anything less than 110 percent.
Going above and beyond at all times can do a lot for you. Not only will it build a better reference from your peers and superiors, it will also condition you for a higher level of performance.
3. Work at the level of pay you want, not the pay you think you think it’s worth.
Similarly, I often hear people say, “I don’t think this work is worth it. I put x amount of hours into this job, and I’m only getting paid this much money. If they want me to be at that level, they better give me a raise.”
Reality Check: It doesn’t work like that. You earn your raises by performing at a higher level on a regular basis until your employer is bought into it. Think you’re being cheated? Ask your supervisor what you need to do in order to receive a raise, but don’t ever feel entitled to it.
4. Don’t reinvent the wheel.
When I got my first taste of leadership, I thought I saw the flaws in how the business was being run. I thought I could fix it, so I spent a lot of time developing a theory to fix it.
I was wrong; businesses will typically listen to your feedback, and ultimately, businesses will change. But, you shouldn't try to fix something that isn't broken.
5. Connect behaviors to metrics.
This is especially true in sales. If there is a gap in your sales performance, there is a behavior behind it that you can do better.
Rather than focus strictly on the numbers, ask yourself the open-ended question: “What can I do differently that will ultimately raise this statistic?”
6. Empower your peers.
As a leader, it’s always important to trust your peers, or those under you. Sometimes it may take time to build that trust, but it is just as important for you to give the opportunity to build that trust as it is for them to earn it.
Something I learned in molding myself as a leader was that I had to set the example before I could pave the way. In other words, if I am going to hold my peers to certain expectations, then I have to exceed those expectations on my own accord.
8. Learn how to delegate.
It ties back to empowering your peers. Sometimes your boss will overload your plate with more than you can realistically handle.
Typically, this is a test on two different accounts: 1) How much can you handle on your own? 2) Once you realize how much you can or can’t handle, what will you do to ensure the task gets done?
The best idea is to partner with the people who can help you and give them the credit they deserve when the time comes.
9. Ask your peers or those under you, what you can do for them.
It’s important to know where those around you want to go with their jobs or careers so you have a better understanding of how you can help them succeed.
This, in turn, will get the best performance out of your coworkers if they know you’re looking out for them. I am very upfront in talking to my coworkers:
This is my endgame. This is where I want to be in five years. To get there, I need you to succeed. That said, what are your goals in life, and how can I help you get there so that you will help me get mine?
10. Ask questions to which you don’t know the answers.
You should always be willing to learn.
11. Body language
Body language is something that is easy to read and understand. Once you understand it, it’s also the one of the easiest languages to use to your advantage.
Pay attention to how people move. Their arms display passion; their eyes display how they feel; their stance displays attitude. You can mirror this body language to your own advantage, as well.
12. Seek improvement, not approval.
Always take pride in a job well-done, but never boast while expecting someone to give you a pat on the back. Look for opportunities to do better if you want to continue to grow.
On that same token, when someone comes to you with a success story, it doesn’t hurt to give him or her a pat on the back. Words of encouragement are powerful when it comes to earning respect as a leader.
13. Never sprint the marathon.
It’s easy to get burnt out on a job. Consciously keep yourself in check and keep fighting the good fight.
14. Listen, don’t talk so much.
In retail, we call this the 80/20 rule, but it can apply to a lot of different things.
We should spend 80 percent of the time listening to our clients or our employees and 20 percent of the time talking about what we can do next.
How do we ensure they have plenty to talk about? Ask open-ended questions. Not only does it give us a better idea of what we can do next, but also saves us a lot of breath.
15. Validate the stories of others.
If someone approaches you with a success story, rather than tell one of yours, immerse yourself in his or hers. Ask this person details about the success story, and offer congratulations while still encouraging him or her to be consistent with that success.
“One-upping” your peers often belittles them; whereas, validating their stories continues to support their progress.
16. What have you done, and what are you going to do?
Every week I write my boss a weekly recap. The recap covers my previous week, what we did, how we performed as a team, areas of opportunity, etc. Then, after acknowledging the previous week, I take that information and discuss what we are going to do next to be even more successful.
Not only does this behavior show initiative, it also shows an understanding. It provides a unique perspective that my boss might not see otherwise.