Most of us adopt a “take-it-as-it-comes” approach to our careers. We hope for the best, and assume that if we do a good job, the best opportunities will naturally be ours.
Sadly, this isn’t always the case. Working on your career with intention and purpose, developing plans to grow, and being proactive are what help you climb the career ladder quicker. In that vein, here are 5 simple ways to get ahead at work.
1. Maximise your time
The key to getting ahead versus getting left behind? It all comes down to how you maximise your downtime. Many workplaces have times when you’ll be in between projects, waiting for work to come in, and so on. Occupy yourself with useful tasks during that time or think of new ways to accomplish your daily tasks more effectively.
Alternatively, register for an online course and pick up a new skill that could come in handy in your job. Or acquire more knowledge by simply reading up on work-related subjects. There are always things that can be done during your downtime that will help you progress in your career.
2. Learn from the best
It almost always pays to learn from (and emulate) the people who do their job well. Identify colleagues who are sought out for advice, who do their job well, and who pull no punches when it’s crunch time.
Ask these colleagues lots of questions and watch what they do. Their personal experiences and years of know-how can motivate you and potentially prevent unnecessary mistakes. In some situations, it might even be appropriate to ask them to be your mentor.
3. Be Friendly
Try to build positive relationships with the people in your office, from upper management to the cleaners. There is always something to gain from building a positive relationship with everyone.
In addition, try to minimise negative comments and negativity in general. Most work environments provide ample fodder for gossip, but participating just drags everyone down and can even circle back to you in future.
The more positivity you practise and the more people you develop positive relationships with, the happier you’ll be at work. You’ll soon develop a reputation for being likeable and trustworthy, which can only benefit you moving forward.
4. Seek out new opportunities
When a challenging situation or a high-profile opportunity presents itself, don’t shy away. Volunteer to take it on instead. Being proactive with new opportunities is a good way of demonstrating your ability to handle new and additional responsibilities.
Once you are perceived as someone who can manage multiple projects and still remain calm under pressure, you won’t go unnoticed by your colleagues or bosses.
5. Own up to mistakes
As the saying goes, to err is human. If you make mistakes (and you inevitably will), own up and do what you can to rectify the situation. Your boss knows that mistakes happen – whether it’s a typo or a missed meeting – and will appreciate your honesty.
Instead of making excuses, passing the blame or hiding the problem, acknowledge that you were in the wrong, then apologise and offer a quick explanation and solution. This will improve your reputation at work and your ability to handle different situations.