A few weeks ago, I wrote a column about what you can do to get better at your job. I have some additions to my original list, which included improving time management, getting organized, staying positive, writing goals, compromising, developing confidence, exercising mind and body, using mentors and coaches, practicing public speaking, improving your relationship with your boss and learning to love feedback.
Add these ideas to your list. Just remember, the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement.
Be more resourceful. Resourcefulness — using your brain to think outside the box and get the information you need or the project accomplished — is one of the traits that I really admire in people. Webster's dictionary defines resourceful as "able to deal promptly and effectively with problems, difficulties, etc." Resourcefulness is a real asset for anyone trying to get the edge over the competition, whether it's finding a job, keeping a job, making customers happy or landing a new account.
Forge strong relationships. People aren't strangers if you've already met them. The trick is to meet them before you need their help. Every person you meet should go into your contact file. A well-developed network is essential for any job.
Anticipate needs. This includes those of your department and your boss. Be a reliable source for your supervisor and team and provide solutions. Do your research. Study the industry. Follow through and stay available. If you contribute to your supervisor's success, you will position yourself as a team player and a dependable, valuable employee.
Delegate to elevate. Delegating is a key management skill, but managers often mistake delegation for passing off work. Failing to effectively delegate wastes your time as well as the company's time and resources. The most successful managers aim to make themselves unnecessary to their staff.
Listen to learn. Listening is a critical skill in everyone's life. If you want to be heard, you must know how to listen. We spend 45 percent of our waking time listening, yet we forget 50 percent of what we hear. Being a good listener can make or break a career.
Be a better team player. Teamwork is consciously espoused but unwittingly shunned by most people in business because they are afraid that it will render them anonymous or invisible. Nothing could be further from the truth. Working together is critical for success. No one is more important than the team. The key is how to build the team and make it more successful.
Encourage co-workers. Tell someone that he or she is stupid or dumb or bad at something and you have destroyed almost every incentive to improve. However, encourage that person and he or she will work tirelessly to excel. Encouragement is oxygen to the soul. It gives people a natural high.
Spread enthusiasm around. Encouraging words have tremendous power. Things you hear and read affect your actions. Don't let others take away your dreams and wishes.
Reap rewards from volunteering. People who do volunteer work and help other people on a regular basis have a healthier outlook on life. They are more inclined to be go-getters and consistently report being happier.
Always be productive. Arrive to work on time or, better yet, early. Don't procrastinate. Don't let work sit on your desk for days on end. Let's face it … given a choice, people will perform the least important task first, and the most important last — if at all. That's why "one of these days" becomes none of these days.
Mackay's Moral: Most people strive to be better off, but few strive to be better.
Harvey Mackay is a Minneapolis businessman. Contact him at 612-378-6202 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.