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The best way to establish success in the workplace is through performance. Establishing a reputation as a person who always completes entrusted tasks in the required manner, who constantly meets deadlines, who thrives on handling challenging assignments, and who always keeps abreast of the latest development is the best way of establishing success in the workplace. Such a work culture would invariably make the person a central cog in the organizational set-up, with new employees turning to them for guidance, and supervisors relying on them as the chief troubleshooter.
Another dimension of performance is to work smart, rather than hard. Other employees might consider a constantly busy workaholic in good light, but what actually counts are results. Effective performance is smart working rather than hard working and entails devising ways to do the work faster and better, creating shortcuts to get the same result, incorporating the latest tools and technologies available in the internet, and leveraging the power of the latest developments and updated knowledge base to ensure superior performance.
Image Credit: flickr.com/Melodee Hagensen
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A trait strongly connected with performance is initiative. Performing the assigned tasks impeccably per the job description is what the employer expects any employee to do, and the employee trying to take credit for such minimum performance would sound hollow. What distinguishes an excellent performer from a good employee is the ability to understand what needs doing and the willingness to take the initiative to do it.
A related dimension that ensures success in the workplace is remaining prepared for contingencies and emergencies. Even the best-laid plans and systems falter at times, and all companies face unexpected breakdowns, emergencies, and crises from time to time. Anticipating possible contingencies and taking adequate preparations to mitigate the effects of such breakdowns, as well as taking the initiative to tide the company out of the crisis, establishes a reputation as a reliable troubleshooter and goes a long way in establishing success at the workplace.
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Performance is the foundation for establishing success in the workplace, but performance alone need not ensure success. The danger with high performance is developing a sense of arrogance and a feeling of indispensability, two traits that can soon lead to doom. The best recipe for success in the workplace is to combine effective performance with teamwork and inculcate team spirit. This requires actively involving and contributing to the team effort and giving credit to the team where credit is due instead of trying to corner the achievements of the team as one’s own achievement, helping team members lift their performance without expecting any personal gain, and maintaining good interpersonal relationships at work and rapport with team members.
Related to teamwork is owning up to mistakes for faults committed instead of trying to put the blame on someone else and, instead, converting such mistakes into learning opportunities. This holds true for team failures as well. Team failures are usually the collective responsibility of team members, and trying to present an impression of “I did my role perfectly, but others let the team down" does not go down well. The employee, however, need not become a scapegoat or a fall guy, either.
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Honesty and Integrity
How to succeed at work? - That is the question here.
A crucial requirement for establishing success in the workplace is establishing high standards of honesty and integrity and carving out a reputation as a person who never compromises on honesty or dilutes ethical standards as a shortcut for success. An important consideration is, however, to align personal values with the company’s value systems and ethics policy. While dishonesty and fraud are sure ways of termination from the job, the other extreme of positioning oneself as "holier than thou" or as the company’s conscience keeper may also not go down too well.
Image Credit: flickr.com/Wouter Kiel
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Keeping abreast of the latest developments and incorporating new technologies at work is of critical importance for success in today’s knowledge-based economy. Employees looking for success in the workplace need to update themselves on new knowledge, research, and technological breakthroughs and incorporate such developments at work as soon as possible.
Establishing a culture as a learning organization, with the employee taking the initiative to acquire knowledge and, more, share such knowledge among the workforce is a sure way to gain appreciation from others and succeed in the workplace.
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People looking at ways to succeed at work would do well to keep aloof from office politics and maintain good interpersonal relationships with all colleagues regardless of their orientation. Top performers being overlooked for promotion or even fired from their jobs is commonplace in the industry, and the biggest reason for such discrepancies is office politics and poor interpersonal relationships.
Interpersonal relationships are considered important at work owing to many reasons. The dangers of involving in office politics and/or not maintaining a good rapport with all colleagues (include rubbing a powerful person in the wrong way), identification with a group that has lost the power race, aligning with losers, and the like. The best approach is to keep a distance from office politics and from all power groups; remain aloof from all non-productive and disruptive activities, channeling energies into productive efforts such as performance and learning instead. Such aloofness not only saves one from being the victim or fall guy of power wars, but also actually promotes the chances of advancement, for such a person invariably becomes a consensus candidate, acceptable by all groups.
Related to keeping aloof from office politics is avoiding discussion of anything controversial at work, or expressing strong opinions on any controversial event or issue related to topics such as religion, politics, and sexual orientation. Such opinions do little to promote prospects of advancement and, rather, carry the risk of attracting the ire of the powers-that-be when they contradict their viewpoints. Keeping silence or maintaining a neutral opinion is the safest course. Experience suggests that trying to cull someone's favor by aligning with others' interests and orientation is not a factor to establish success at the workplace.
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Finally, bad-mouthing the company, either inside or outside the office, is a sure way of committing hara-kiri at the workplace. Word gets around fast, and soon people would identify such a person as someone not happy with the job or having a “fit" issue. Employees looking to establish success in the workplace need to realize that they are unofficial spokespersons, representing the company in their communities and elsewhere. Just like speaking bad gets around, speaking positively also gets around, contributes immensely in establishing success in the workplace, and allows one to leverage the success of the company as one’s own success.