As with many things, success in your career won’t just fall in your lap -- you have to work for it. When professionals enter the workforce, they often expect some type of counseling or training on company procedures, job duties and bosses expectations. Although you will most likely receive some sort of training when you begin, the reality is that there is no handbook that outlines your career path with advice and instructions at each hurdle or milestone.
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Through experience as a leader, I have learned that while an employee's level of skill and qualification for a position certainly play a role in his or her career success, habits and routines have a larger impact on productivity and advancement within the company. Although most success is ultimately rewarded with a larger paycheck or promotion, the small patterns you create on a daily basis become part of your character and not only increase your overall happiness but showcase skill and establish confidence.
Whether you are a CEO or a lower-level manager, here are five habits that I often suggest in order to achieve maximum success in the workplace:
1. Sweat the small stuff.
We’ve all been told before, “Don’t sweat the small stuff.” I preach the exact opposite. You will gradually be trusted to take on larger and more meaningful initiatives if you continually show attention to detail and shine in your current assignments. It’s important to focus on the small stuff because if you don’t, the small problems eventually become the big problems.
2. Be collaborative and independent at the same time.
It is important to show your individual talents and highlight your contributions from time to time, but it is equally important to show your ability to build bridges and work with a team toward the greater good. A bonus of this practice is that when it comes time for a promotion, you will have the support of your co-workers, which can prove to be the element that gets you to that next level.
3. Be innovative.
Always be on the lookout for a better, cheaper or faster way -- work smarter, not harder. Be creative in your approach to regular tasks and try a couple courses of action before deciding which works best. Business constantly evolves, and being in an innovative mindset will ensure that you are driving positive change and not having to be reactive.
4. Be critical.
While it’s important to move forward and not dwell on mistakes, it’s also necessary to take a break and review your own work. Checking your own assignments gives you an opportunity to determine if it really is your best and change it if necessary. Also, in criticizing your own work you are forced to find a more creative angle or ask a team member for their help and outside opinion.
5. Take risks.
It can be nerve-wracking to step outside your comfort zone during a brainstorm or while working on a client project, but the reward can outweigh the discomfort. When you take a risk, it shows your ability to think outside the box and proves you’re confident and capable in your current role. We all know that when you feel as though you can handle everything that is thrown at you in your current role, it is time to move up for more challenges.
As you strive for success in the workplace, use these five tips. While they may seem small and simple, they make a large impact on how you are viewed by colleagues and leaders. If you can prove your success at a small level, you will have no problem demonstrating your capabilities at a higher stature.