If you've just landed your dream job and everything is going well, rather than just resting on your laurels, taking ownership of your personal development will only help fast track your career.
Being successful and productive at your job requires more than just participation – it demands being proactive about your own performance. How you are doing your job is just as important as what you are doing.
A successful organisation is one in which individuals are growing, learning and contributing to its overall goals. Fostering continual improvement through ongoing communication, information sharing, assessments and rewards can help both individuals and organisations progress towards their goals.
However, the flipside of this is that employees can slip up by being unaware of their strengths and weaknesses. It can be easy to see the strengths and weaknesses of other people you work with, but it's always harder to critique ourselves.
If you're having trouble figuring out how you can improve at your workplace, ask a close co-worker or your manager for some honest feedback. But be prepared to hear the truth as you cannot change a habit or behaviour if you are not prepared to see it.
Feedback will provide you with valuable ideas about what people expect from you, any weak areas, and what you need to work on first. Employees should try to accept any criticism gracefully. It’s important to express that you would like to fix the issue and discuss what needs to be changed.
Hays has this advice on how to avoid stepping on potential “banana skins” at work and maintain workplace success:
1. Understanding your employer's expectations - Make sure you understand your company’s culture. Your cultural ‘fit’ with the organisation and your working relationship with your supervisor/manager are very important. Make sure you are familiar with the values of the company so that you can demonstrate them effectively.
2. Staying positive - Whether things are going well or badly, always maintain a balanced viewpoint and resist the urge to complain to co-workers about your boss or your job. Your complaints could work their way up to those higher in the organisation. Instead, find the right channels to suggest improvements.
3. Being a team player - Those willing to set aside their personal goals for the overall goals of the department or company are valued by organisations. Team players get noticed and often advance faster than those with a more self-centered approach.
4. Willingness to take on extra duties - Whether it's overseeing a major new project or filing folders, always volunteer for extra responsibilities. This may be a given, but people who excel in their workplace often go above and beyond of what they're asked to do.
5. Not gossiping - Stay focused on the positive and refrain from sharing personal or company information with your co-workers. Be especially conscious of this when attending company parties or outings where alcohol is served.
6. Good manners in the office - Whether or not you're actually in a cubicle, respect shared office space by keeping voice volume low on the phone and in person. Whenever you can, go to co-workers to speak to them. Use this as an opportunity to develop closer working relationships.
7. Not discussing your personal life - Keep personal calls and emails to a minimum. Leave errands for lunchtime or when you're away from work. Don't share intimate details of your social life over the water cooler or in the office kitchen!
8. Personal business on work technology - Most companies monitor employee usage of technology, so you should skip the personal emails and text messages. Also, bear in mind that venting feelings about your workplace or boss on social media could be read by anyone.
9. Arriving on time - Most employers are prepared to be flexible and each environment has its own rules on timekeeping. Find out what they are and stick to them! You want to send the message that you're dependable and willing to go the extra mile to meet company goals.
10. Meeting deadlines - Keep your word. Always meet deadlines; if you miss a deadline, it may have a knock-on effect throughout your company. Talk to your boss far ahead of a deadline if you believe that you won't be able to complete an assigned task on time.
Finally, when you go to your boss with a problem, go with at least one suggestion in mind for a solution. Even if your boss doesn't take your suggestion, you will look like a problem-solver, not a complainer.