How do you feel when a colleague gets promoted when you believe you deserved it better? Do you feel frustrated and angry when you work your ass off but do not get recognized? You wonder what went wrong.
Who does not like being appreciated or promoted? For most people, a promotion serves as a matter of pride than the extra bucks added to the pocket each month. Every employee seeks growth, whether the person intends to quit and start a business on their own or to grow up the corporate ladder.
Growing in a company makes you feel happy. Sure, the paycheck serves as the icing on the cake, but the real reason for happiness lies in knowing your efforts yielded results. The sound of bravo rings in your ears, motivating you to scale bigger heights.
But when you do not get what you deserve, you turn as angry as a dog who was disturbed while eating his meal. You may not bark or bite, but the anger within you boils your blood. You hunt for answers to know why did you not get what you were looking for.
- Why people do not get promoted or appreciated
- How to be successful at work and on the job:
Why people do not get promoted or appreciated
In most cases, people who do not get promoted are doing the regular tasks expected of them well. They fail to understand why was somebody else promoted instead.
You will remain where you are if you fail to think beyond your routine tasks.
If you only do what your boss expects you to do, the chances of your promotion are unlikely. If you do what is expected, you seem no different than another employee. If you do what you have always done, you will remain where you always were.
Sure, you may work longer and harder, but no one cares.
Those who scale and grow faster always do something “extra” which no one expected them to do. Someone has rightly said, the difference between ordinary and extraordinary is the little “extra”.
How to be successful at work and on the job:
To grow faster, you might have to buck the usual style of working and adopt a new style. Stop thinking that working long hours implies hard work. After a certain point, the value you provide holds more importance than the hours you put in.
Think of it as a real-life example. Assume both of us are colleagues and our boss wants a mango. I plant a tree, wait for it to grow, pluck a mango and come back years later. While you buy a mango from the store today.
Should I expect my boss to promote me for my years of hard work? Of course not, you say. But employees have similar expectations.
Organizations promote those who deliver value, not those who put in the highest effort. The thought process of more hours implying more rewards works only early in the career.
After a certain level of growth, you are expected to deliver results and value(unless you work in an organization corrupted with politics). If you can do deliver in 2 hours, good for you. If you are slow and need long hours, you need to figure out a way to deliver results faster.
Here are 10 tips on how to be successful at work and on the job
1. Solve problems
The team you belong to and the organization you work for have challenges they face and problems to solve. When was the last time you took an initiative to solve a problem? If you haven’t, it’s time you did.
Solve a problem that helps your team. Reduce man-hours, improve customer service, find a new way to do things or anything which floats your boat.
You will make a great impression when you take initiative to solve a problem which no one asked you to. Please note: if your boss tells you about the problem and asks you to find a solution, the scenario changes completely. If you find a solution when someone asked you to, you may not impress people as much.
The key to making an impact is spotting and solving a problem out of your own initiative.
2. Make the life of your boss easier
The most common complaint employees have is “My boss sucks.” Do you feel the same about your boss?
It is easy to complain about your boss, but do you look at your own mistakes and improve? If you complain about your boss, but do not help him with his responsibilities, you suck too. Maybe your boss is a jerk, but are you doing your best?
Hierarchy in an organization exists so that the goals of the organization can trickle down to the last member of the team. Your boss has results to deliver to the management. When you help him achieve what is expected of him, everyone wins.
If you help your boss grow, you will prosper too. Do not do it to butter up your boss. Do it for the success of your team.
The key to success at work lies in striving to make your team and boss successful. After all, that is why teams exist.
3. Come up with suggestions
Some employees expect the boss to give them directions which they follow to the dot, like the sheep follow a shepherd. If you follow like a sheep, you will forever remain one.
A good boss tells you to challenge his thoughts and ideas. Even if he does not, have an opinion of your own. When you feel your boss makes a wrong decision, tell him about it. Most employees suffer from an authority bias, where they believe their boss makes the right call always.
If you have a suggestion to improve an area of business, bring it up. A smart employee has his own thoughts and opinions to offer for the growth of the business.
4. Improve your skills each day
Let us rewind time and go back a year. Compare the old you vs the current you. Do you see any difference in your skills and abilities or do you see the same you in the mirror?
Most people stagnate after a few years without learning anything new. They assume their current knowledge should suffice to get the work done.
Imagine you are a salesperson. If you do not improve your sales skills year on year, why should any organization pay you more than a lesser experienced employee? If you and the junior employee deliver the same results, you both deserve the same pay too.
When people ask how to be a successful employee, the universal answer is, keep improving yourself and the rest will follow.
Aim to do something better each day. Learn a new way of doing things, correct a mistake or implement a new idea. This technique is called marginal gains which has sensational success stories. Dave Brailsford used the same technique to guide the British Cycling team from a history of 1 medal in 100 years to complete domination of the world cycling.
The day you stop learning is the day you stop growing.
5. Spend time thinking
The human brain is the most complex object known to exist. No supercomputer has the ability to perform some of the things your brain can do. Thinking is one such activity. Yet, most people do not spend time thinking about what they could do better.
Spend 15 minutes a day thinking, “What can I do better at work?”. You will have myriad ways to grow professionally if you take the time to think.
During the allocated minutes, you can generate new ideas, fix current problems or find new ways of doing a task efficiently. Keep a track of the important thoughts you come across. If you do not note your ideas down, you will soon forget them.
You can use the time to identify your mistakes and achievements. List them down and analyze every single one. You do not have to analyze in detail like a forensic detective hunting for evidence. Think about the bad you can avoid and the good you can continue.
Thinking is one of your most powerful abilities. Use it.
6. Do what people do not expect
If you only do what others do, you will get what others get. Even if you can do all the tasks related to your job without a single flaw, you only did what was expected of you. By definition, “meeting expectations” implies doing what was expected.
If you want more, do more. Isn’t expecting more while nothing extra unfair? Impress people by doing something which no one expected. Showing up dressed as a Santa Claus is unexpected too, but I guess you know that wouldn’t count. Do something which causes people to say, “Wow, that was brilliant.” Aim to wow.
Doing something good which no one expected is the fastest path to growth.
7. Follow a culture of no blame
Things go wrong in all teams whether they contain experts or newbies. When a mishap happens, either you are at fault or somebody else committed a mistake or both. People do not hesitate to blame the circumstances or a third person. But in every problem, if you look deep enough, you have a takeaway to improve yourself.
As a real-life example, people blame traffic for their late arrival. Sure, the traffic caused a delay but you could have left earlier too.
No matter what the problem, look at what you could have done better. Ignore the faults of the people, circumstances, the moon, and the stars.
The only corner of the world you can change is yourself.
8. Stay away from gossip
Nothing good ever came out of gossip. All that follows gossip is sour intentions, damaged relationships, dirty rumors, and some more gossip. Gossip is negative and leaves you with the same mindset.
If you engage in gossip, somewhere someday you will also be the topic of gossip. The more you gossip, the more it tells about your personality to others.
To learn how to be a good employee at work shun gossip as soon as you hear or see it. Gossip is like a double-crust cheese pizza. It might taste good but along comes unnecessary baggage too.
9. Take short breaks
The longer your breaks are, the longer you need to work. If you spend as little time as necessary on breaks, you can leave on time and spend time with your loved ones or by yourself.
You do not need a lunch break of 1 hour because your company set 60 minutes for it. When you spend time on lunch breaks, you waste your own time. The additional time you spend on breaks ends up wasted in chatter, gossip, loose talks or unnecessary calories.
When you work, you must focus like an eagle with its eye on the target.
Break time and growth time are directly proportional. The longer your breaks are the longer you will need to grow.
10. Help Others
Employees have a wrong notion that when other team members learn their skills, they lose their own value. The truth is quite the opposite. The best employees share knowledge and empower other team members. Such employees gain more opportunities and scale faster.
Creating dependency on yourself to keep your job secure will kill your growth over the long term. Not only will your team members dislike your style of working, but also your selfish mindset won’t take you too far.
When you help others, you build rapport with the team. If that was not enough, teaching what you know makes you better at it.
If you want to learn how to be successful at work and on the job, you have to start with yourself. Stop expecting your boss, peers or the management to make your growth happen. Apply these career growth tips which you already know now
Do not sit at the same old place expecting rewards, growth, and success to fall into your lap. Get your butt moving and deliver value. If you plan to put in more effort after you are promoted, you have got it in reverse. In reality, the more value you deliver in value, the more you obtain in return.
You are the captain and it is your ship. If you keep sailing on the ship expecting to reach green pastures, you will take a very long time. Only you can steer your career towards the direction called success.
Maxim Dsouza has spent over a decade experimenting and finding various time management techniques to improve his productivity. He strongly understands the fact that time is a limited commodity and tries to make every second count. He has extensive experience in leadership in startups, small businesses, and large corporations.
He has helped people of different professions and age groups gain clarity on their goals, improve focus, revise their time management skills and develop an awareness of their psychological cognitive biases.