It looks like you could use some help learning how to contribute more effectively in the workplace. Contributing is your best job security. If you master your job – and grow with it – you’ll control what you can. To the greatest extent possible, you’ll give yourself the opportunity to stay with your current employer, or to leave if and when you want.
Enough about the importance of contribution. Let’s get into the actionable stuff! In order to contribute, you need to commit, connect, and create value. We’ve distilled the essentials of workplace contribution into an outline, which we share with you now.
- Engage or Go: Decide to maximize your contribution – anything less than your best shortchanges both your employer and you. Assess your commitment – how serious are you about achieving the outcomes you say you want? Finally, resolve your commitment – commit to what you’re doing now and, if that’s impossible, leave as soon as thoughtfully practical.
- Master Your Job: Determine the competencies needed for your job and use that list to devise and execute a personal learning plan.
- Find Your Niche: Seek a role that requires your best skills. That may not be your current role, and that’s okay. Look for a need that best fits your skills and be the one to fill it. This will likely require being flexible since every role will present some growth challenges.
- Connect with Your Manager: Think like your manager, work with your manager, and support your manager.
- Connect with Your Colleagues: Fit in. Getting along with people is an essential soft skill. But it’s also important to stand out. One way to differentiate yourself is through character such that your integrity can be counted on in all situations.
- Connect with Industry Peers: It’s inevitable you’ll find yourself at a dreaded cocktail “networking” event at some point or another. Challenge yourself to identify and talk to a few people you want to meet. All you need is a handshake and a hello to allow for follow-up.
- Perform: Performing boils down to a few hard and fast rules. Work hard. Work smart. Deliver results you’re proud to put your name on. Stay focused and don’t ever coast. Learn from your mistakes.
- Bring Something Extra: Bring something to your work that helps set you apart. That might be showing practical wisdom, bringing in new business, or doing something special like generating and pitching new ideas.
- Master the Business: If you like the line of work you’ve chosen, seek to understand it at a deeper level. Go beyond mastering your job to mastering your business. What factors drive the business? Learn its vocabulary and understand its key metrics.
To dive deeper into each of these aspects of contribution, pick up your copy of Look Out Above! Contribution is Chapter One. And while you have the book, check out the other chapters, too. We promise they’re worth your while.