We commonly want out bosses to do more for us; however, there is much we can do to help that boss like us. it would only be fair to point out that we can be better workers as well. These points apply to workers at every level from executive and janitor.
Thus, here is a list of 10 things you can do to be a better worker. Some are common sense, which may or may not be your forte. However, some do require us to develop our office skills. From my experience I can attest that all of these are not only important, but they work!
So, lets look at the easiest things to do:
- Be Calm
They are made of one syllable words and should be just about as easy to accomplish as they are to say, but most people fail at these two simple things. If you work in an office where everyone scowls at everyone else, it feels hostile and you really don’t feel like doing anything. Smiling people make us feel better, emotions are literally contagious. So if you work in an office of curmudgeons be the first to break the mold and smile, who knows someone might actually appreciate it. Next, be calm, sure you have a manager screaming at you, but screaming back will not help. Ever try screaming at a baby to stop it crying? Yeah, I bet that worked out just great too. So take a step back, take a breath, and be the person to help diffuse the problem rather than escalate it. Everyone in the office will remember you as that person who did not crack under pressure.
- Know the problem
- Ask Questions
- Accept Change
These three things are not hard to accomplish, but we tend to forget them while running through our workday. Speaking of that, how many times have you been given a task without really knowing what you were supposed to do? Yeah, probably more than any of us want to admit. Always ask questions before you start a task, make sure that when you start working the problem you’re working on and what your boss wants are actually the same thing. It will save you lots of time, headaches, and make being calm and smiling much easier.
Change happens. Most change even happens for a reason. Unless you can be absolutely sure the change being implemented will hurt workflow try and get on the wagon. Arguing about the change and refusing to work with it wastes much more time than seeing if the new way/software/boss might actually be better.
Now the hard ones:
- Do one thing at a time
- Learn to listen
- Distinguish sense from nonsense
- Admit mistakes
- Say it simple
Multi-tasking has become the order of the day. If you do a decent search on research into multi-tasking you should come to the fast conclusion that it fails to produce anything more than stress and less productivity. If you have a task, get it done and don’t let yourself wander between five other things.
Listen. Listen listen listen. The main reason we don’t ‘know the problem’ and ‘need to ask questions’ is because we forget to listen. Make sure to listen carefully, take notes if you need them, and spend less time planning how you will respond before someone is done talking. This will ensure once you ask questions you will be getting extra (read helpful) information and not getting information repeated. This is actually the only way to distinguish sense from nonsense. Once you learn to listen carefully everything else gets much easier.
Admit mistakes. Nothing much to say on this. We all hate to do it, and we all need to do it more.
Don’t complicate things. If you need to give a project to someone or report the status of something, say it in a way anyone could understand the first time. The big reason we need to listen so carefully is because most people are terrible at speaking. Make your points in a way a 5 year old can understand. Don’t talk down to people, but don’t needlessly complicate. This needs an example:
Boss: I need you to, by no later than 5, get these several documents collated checked, and have 5 of them over to Jim who will be forwarding them to several of our clients.
Workers: !! … Yeah, sounds great, by 5, got it.
Boss: Please make 5 copies of these documents and get them over to Jim by 5.
Worker: Does anything need to be reordered before I make these copies?
Boss: Nope, these should be in the right order.
Worker: Great, it will be done in 10 minutes
Short declarative sentences win the day!
So, practice these 10 points at work. You might actually be amazed at how much better things can go for you.