Advice & Best Practice

5 strategies to help you excel in your career

As the importance of workplace wellbeing increases, it’s natural to evaluate your current employment situation and wonder if it might be time for a change or an alternative way of working to make your experience at work a more positive one.

Some will look back on the last few months and decide to seek the success that they’re striving for with another company. In fact, our own research found that as many as 2 million people think about quitting their jobs every day.

However, success might be more easily achieved by simply changing your approach to work. Taking the time to learn new skills or develop your experience will not only help to keep you engaged and motivated, but is also bound to lead to bigger and better things. With that in mind, below are some top tips to help you nail your career.

  1. Active listening
    Your ability to listen has a major impact on your ability to carry out your job, and on the quality of your relationships with your colleagues. By becoming a better listener, you can improve your productivity, as well as your ability to influence, persuade and negotiate. You’ll also be better equipped to avoid conflict and misunderstandings.

Consider the concept of ’active listening’, whereby you make a conscious effort to not only hear the words that another person is saying, but the complete message being communicated.

To actively listen, you cannot allow yourself to become distracted by whatever else might be going on around you, or by launching counter arguments while the other person is still speaking. Nor can you allow yourself to get bored or lose focus. Acknowledge the other person to indicate that you’re listening and encourage them to continue. This could be as simple as nodding your head or even asking the occasional question.

2. Independent thinking
1 of the first things that you most likely learnt upon entering the workplace is the importance of following instructions. Ultimately, though, leaders need team members who won’t shy away from the opportunity to challenge the status quo.

If you have suggestions, don’t be afraid to voice them. Even if you’re unsure whether your boss will agree, being able to show that you are sufficiently invested in their business to have given it thought and made a suggestion will speak volumes.

You never know; they might not fully agree with your idea, but you could prompt them to consider an angle or detail that they hadn’t previously considered. Showing that you can make a convincing case for a proposed plan of action is also a great way of demonstrating your planning and presentation skills, maybe even boosting your confidence in the process.

3. Proactivity
The best leaders would prefer not to spend their time micro-managing or hand-holding. Your boss is likely to be incredibly busy, with a mountain of their own work to get through and keep track of. With that in mind, approaching work with an intuitive, proactive attitude could be the skill that takes your career to new heights.

Taking initiative and being proactive are all about rolling up your sleeves and getting on with the task at hand. Look for opportunities to take charge of tasks and demonstrate your desire for more responsibility. Whether it be resolving to propose solutions to problems instead of simply asking questions, or even offering to run a regular client call to free up some time for your manager, before long, your efforts are sure to be noticed.

4. Adaptability
The modern workplace is in a constant state of flux. Processes, jobs, priorities, markets and leaders are changing all the time, and some of the most valued employees are those who are able to take change in their stride, without being phased by it.

A recent report by Barclays LifeSkills found that 60% of employers believe adaptability has become a more important skill for employees to demonstrate. Showing that you’re a safe, dependable pair of hands, and that you won’t waver in the face of uncertainty, will go a long way towards impressing your boss.

5. Positivity
It might sound like a no-brainer, but your attitude can have a big impact on your standing in the workplace. The ability to remain upbeat in the face of adversity demonstrates resilience, making you the ‘go-to’ person when things get tough. Even on a day-to-day basis though, showing that you are pleased to be there will put you in good stead.

The workplace can sometimes be a stressful environment and its remarkable how quickly negativity can spread. Positivity spreads just as quickly though, and bringing a little humour, kindness or generosity into your environment can go a long way. Not only will positivity make your workplace a more enjoyable place to be, but various studies have shown that a happier working environment will also increase productivity and engagement.

If your mission this year is to make strides in your career, think about looking inwardly, taking stock of your best attributes but also pinning down areas where you could still learn and develop. Setting new goals or to make a change is the key to a positive attitude in the workplace. It doesn’t always require a big change. You might even choose just 1 area to work on. That’s OK, though; even the smallest changes can sometimes yield big results.

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