If you want to be even better at the work you do, no matter that industry or service you work in, no matter whether you work in a big team or just as a solopreneur with clients and partners, the six (non-technical) key tips detailed below are a great start.
Why? You see, people want to be good at so many things, and they automatically strive for very high goals that are nearly unreachable. They tend to forget that there are also small steps that can be taken, like the ones coming up to allow them to progress in the topics they handle and to improve the relationship with the people they deal with and to be happier in the office.
“I like to listen. I have learned a great deal from listening carefully. Most people never listen.” – Ernest Hemingway
1. Ask more, talk less
People like to talk, they like to talk so much, that they tend to forget that other people have an opinion as well and they also forget that the different ideas of the team can allow amazing progressions at some points, so why only focus on what one or two people have to say?
During your next meeting, try to incorporate the others who do not say a lot and practice your active listening skills. Ask direct questions to them, you will be amazed by how people will open up, if you only ask them.
If you are one of the persons just sitting there, speak up for yourself, be confident, even if you have not been given big room. Ask whether you can add something, very rarely people will say ‘no’. Be bold, make in attempt to be better!
2. More fun with colleagues
Just recently I read an article confirming about how much more productive a team, department or company can be, if it leaves room for off-time. Encourage your colleague(s) to take a little break with you. Go around the block or just stop by at the coffee machine and catch up with other colleagues.
When I was working in Toulouse, we had occasional gatherings after work, even if it was just for a glass, you got to know your colleague and their lives much better to have a better understanding of their circumstances as well. This is a great way to connect, but also to boost your relationship with others, especially if you look like a workaholic during the day, they see that you also relax during the evening hours.
3. Simplify Your Work
I don’t know about you, but I tend to put too many things in my agenda for one single day! Even though I plan out my week on Mondays, and I do have some white spots in my calendar, they tend to fill very quickly!
There are a few things that help me to de-clutter and simplify my work day:
- Clean up my desk (nearly) every evening
- I delegate what I can to others ( I gave up wanting to do everything myself!)
- Information diet: when I have had a busy working day, I put on music in the evenings, not the news.
- I work standing up, which keeps me focused and therefore streamlines and simplifies my day at the office.
- Read Emails only twice per day (this I actually still have to do more of, but when I manage to close my mail program, it stays closed!)
4. Do Not React
Imagine you are sitting in a meeting to which you were invited, but you do not have a clue why. All of a sudden the gentleman across the table jumps up and accuses you for delaying the project for one week.
What would you do? Here, also your active listening skills could be of advantage.
One great advice is to stay calm and listen to his accusations, analyze the points he mentioned in your head and then respond when he is finished with a calm explanation that you are no longer working on this project since Easter and handed over all open items you dealt with with a protocol.
Certainly, to react, or rather not react in such a professional manner is not always easy. However, next time when someone comes up to you with news to which you would like to scream (or else), try to hold that reaction for a few seconds. The longer you can wait, the less likely your reaction is influenced by the emotional part of your brain, try it!
5. Empower Others
Empowering others can be linked to delegating your work to others, but it is more than that. If you want to be better at what you do, you will have to share the work with other colleagues (where you can) and try to find synergies, to progress and succeed. Not everybody can be good at everything. If you work on what you excel and other work on topics they know and like, it is a win-win situation. If you empower others, you will be relieved due to a lower work load, they will feel more responsible, autonomous and as part of the team.
Now, to you, which one of these key tips are you going to implement today?
Photo courtesy to Anderson Mancini