Bill Cottringer

“The best way to appreciate your job is to imagine yourself without one.” ~Oscar Wilde.

It doesn’t matter whether you are engaged in your dream career or just working at a job; not trying your best to succeed at the workplace doesn’t make any sense. It is a third of your life and when not done right, it can lead to a lot of unnecessary unhappiness. Here are ten sure ways anyone can be successful on the job. And, they don’t require a huge investment, as they are mainly part of the right work attitude that guarantees a reward.

1. Collect And Use Common Sense. Most work failures and problems are brought about by employees not exercising good common sense judgment and actions. You can learn common sense by observing other people who use it, asking good questions about how things work and being open to learning from your failures. A sure way to grow your common sense is to not automatically assume your mind already knows the answer that your mouth hasn’t even asked yet.

2. Be Fully Present On The Job. Jobs are a “social contract” between employer and employee. You get a job and get paid for being productive during your work hours. There is really no room for thinking outside of the workplace because it is a violation of the fairness of this contract. Do the reverse Golden Rule in your head—what would you want from an employee if you were the employer? Give your employer 100% of your attention—especially a sense of urgency of getting important things done quickly and always following up and following through with your promises.

3. Don’t Think You Already Know It All. Most employers are turned off by employees who act like they know it all the first day on the job. The reality is that you can be on a job for 30 years and still learn something new and useful every single day. In fact if you aren’t doing this, you are wasting your own valuable time. You can create great value (see # 6 below), by improving your job knowledge and skills.

4. Listen Carefully To What People Are Asking. People generally ask specific questions because they are looking for very specific answers to act on. Giving right answers to the wrong questions just makes the person have to ask the original question again, so why waste valuable time repairing poor listening? Listen carefully as to what exactly is being asked and answer just that.

5. Ask A Lot Of Questions. You may think that finding clever answers is what workplace success is all about but you are wrong. Rather, it is asking the really good questions that everyone else is either afraid to ask or too lazy to think about. For a start, think about the five questions listed under # 9 below. How can you possibly succeed in your job without knowing the answers to these fundamental questions?

6. Create Value. We are all born with certain gifts and talents to cultivate and use to help others. Find out what your best talents are and make an important contribution to your worksite’s success through those talents and the results you get with them. Creating such value at your workplace is a sure way to feel good about what you are doing and to be valued by your employer for a long while. The value you provide your employer with is the icing on the cake of the social contract you have with your employer.

7. Adapt To Change. Workplaces are changing rapidly in all private and public sector organizations. When you resist change because you think it will be uncomfortable, undesirable, or other fears, you will get left in the dust, falling further behind in the learning curve. Openly embrace changes as opportunities to learn, grow and improve your work skills and create greater value for your employer. This will give you your answer to the fourth question to # 9 below.

8. Grow Your Emotional Intelligence. Few employees get fired for incompetence. The firing problems are normally personality and character problems. Personality conflicts involve employees not being able to control their fears, insecurities and other negative emotionality. Character problems are all about dishonesty that has no place in the workplace. The most useful currency in the workplace success quest is emotional intelligence—knowing yourself, having good self-esteem, being aware of perceptions that others have of you, being more empathetic towards others, and controlling disruptive and unproductive negative emotionality.

9. Get good answers to five important questions. The questions every employee needs to ask and know the right answers to are: (a) Why am I here? (b) What am I supposed to be doing? (c) How do I know if I am doing it right? (d) What’s in it for me? (e) Where do I go when I need help? Getting the right answers to these important questions is a huge step to workplace success.

10. Be positive even when you don’t feel like it. This should probably be listed as number one because it drives all the other workplace success tips. All organizations are fighting the overly negative spin our world puts on life. Things are out of balance and much positive thinking is needed to restore a much needed balance. Besides that, you always get what you expect, so you will get more positive outcomes for yourself and your employer by expecting them with positive thinking, especially when it might be a reach.

Try any of these easy-to-apply tips and watch your workplace success and satisfaction soar with the eagles. Everybody wins, especially you!

Author's Bio: 

William Cottringer, Ph.D. is President of Puget Sound Security in Bellevue, WA, along with being a Sport Psychologist, Business Success Coach, Photographer and Writer living in the scenic mountains of North Bend. He is author of several business and self-development books, including, Re-Braining for 2000 (MJR Publishing), The Prosperity Zone (Authorlink Press), You Can Have Your Cheese & Eat It Too (Executive Excellence), The Bow-Wow Secrets (Wisdom Tree), and Do What Matters Most and “P” Point Management (Atlantic Book Publishers), and Reality Repair Rx (Publish America) This article is an excerpt from an upcoming book Reality Repair. Bill can be reached for comments or questions at (425) 454-5011 or bcottringer@pssp.net