I knew how I wanted to live and what I wanted to achieve in my life since I was 18 years old. Knowing this enabled me to go through life single-mindedly. It made me a highly purposeful and focused person – somewhat persistent and resilient at the same time.
I’m in my middle 20s right now and I’ve spent the last few years researching and trying to figure out the skills I need to develop and the behaviours I need to change in order to get closer to where I want to be in life. I still consider my goals and aspirations to be ambitious and challenging. While these might not be that hard to reach for some people my age – I am still not there yet. The good news is, however, that with the knowledge and the skills I have gathered so far, I feel so much closer to achieving them than ever before. The things that appeared quite ridiculous back then, now appear to be indeed achievable and manageable.
When looking at others in my close environment, I understand that many people my age still don’t know what their ultimate goal is and have little motivation to learn the skills beyond what is required to do their job well. Some of them feel that they are supposed to do something with their lives but struggle to find what would make them truly happy. For the huge majority, a job is just a job and it has little to do with passion, dreams or life goals.
You may be one of them. But I have a hunch that you are not, because if you were – you wouldn’t be reading this right now. And if you are in your early 20s and at the very start of your career journey, then you might be just like me – someone who knows where you want to be in your career but are not yet sure what would help you to get there.
This list of skills required for career success is by no means a complete one, but it’s a great overview of what you should focus on improving if you want to progress in your career. Most importantly, these skills are highly useful when thinking about your life in general, not only your career:)
Confidence is key
Being confident means that you believe in yourself and trust your abilities to perform tasks and various roles. It’s an extremely important skill to have in all aspects of your life and your career, where your performance and behaviour is evaluated on a regular basis.
Truly confident people find it easier to persuade and inspire others. They can speak more clearly and with more assurance. People trust them more and are more open to hearing their ideas.
Confident people are also more positive – they are always up for a new challenge, they live their lives to the fullest, they are more assertive and capable of getting what they want.
Sounds pretty cool, right?
Sadly, many people struggle with self-confidence due to various reasons. It may be due to received criticism in the past, lack of experience, low self-esteem, feeling unprepared or the experience of previous failures.
If you are self-confident for the most part of your life – that’s fantastic! But even if you are one of those people who lack confidence, I have good news for you – it can be learned!
Self-confidence increases as self-efficacy (the belief of your ability to master the skills and achieve your goals) and self-esteem (how you feel about yourself and the life you are living) increases.
Sooo… The best way to build confidence is by setting and achieving goals. In other words, as you build your competence – you build your confidence!
Mindtools suggests taking the following steps in order to develop real self-confidence:
👉 Start by thinking about your life so far and noting the things you have achieved that you are proud of.
👉 Do a SWOT analysis on yourself and have a deeper look at what and where you are right now.
👉 Think of what is truly important to you and what you want to achieve. Set some SMART new goals for yourself – achieving these are the key to your self-confidence. Start from smaller goals as they are easier to accomplish – it’s all about habit formation at this point.
👉 Use any tools you find useful to fight negative self-talk. It might be meditation, positive thinking or talking to yourself in the mirror 🙂
👉 Commit yourself to achieving the goals you set for yourself.
👉 Identify what skills you need to develop in order to achieve your goals. Then, go out of your way to acquire them.
👉 As the time goes, start setting yourself bigger and more challenging goals and commit to achieving these too. The bigger goals you allow yourself to achieve – the more confidence you’ll build.
Set goals for yourself
Goal setting is the process of setting and hitting the targets that are important to you. Successfully achieving your goals will not only make you more confident but will also make you a more productive and motivated person in both, your personal life and your job.
A good way to decide on what goals you need to set for yourself and your career is to use your personal SWOT analysis as it will allow you to see the weaknesses that stop you from getting where you want to be and threats that might affect your future success.
This analysis will also enable you to identify and focus on your strengths and work on minimising your weaknesses. Most importantly, knowing your opportunities and threats will tell you what exactly you should focus on improving and what goals you should set in your life.
How to set and achieve your goals:
👉 Think of what you want to achieve and where you want to be in life.
👉 Do a SWOT analysis on yourself to identify your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and strengths in relation to where and what you are now and where you want to be in the future.
👉 Once you know what your bigger goals are and what you want to achieve more specifically, define and write down your SMART goals and think of a strategy of how you are going to achieve them.
👉 Identify all the smaller tasks you need to complete in order to achieve your goals and then make a plan of how and when you will do them.
👉 Add these tasks to your schedule and stick to completing these tasks no matter what.
I’ve written quite a detailed blog post on goal setting already. You can read it here.
Be more assertive
Being assertive means standing up for what you believe and think is right without being aggressive or needing to prove your point. It’s when you speak your mind in a clear, open and reasonable way without disrespecting the boundaries, opinions and viewpoints of others.
As you become more confident, it gets naturally easier to be more assertive too. Which means, it gets easier to get your point across in a firm and honest way without the fear of having your ideas and opinions unaccepted.
Assertiveness doesn’t come naturally to everyone. For example, women tend to be less assertive than men. People high in agreeableness are also unlikely to be very assertive while disagreeable people find it hard not to be! Employees in lower positions might lack assertiveness because they don’t feel as being in the right place to speak up their minds. However, it’s a skill that you can and should learn as early as you possibly can.
Being assertive can not only make the workplace life fairer to you, but it can also make it easier for you to negotiate win-win solutions and solve arising problems quicker. What’s even better, saying what’s on your mind with confidence at the right time can help your team make better decisions.
Remember, it’s not about acting in your own self-interest and being in the right – it’s about expressing your opinions and feelings while taking the feelings, desires and needs of others. It’s about finding the balance between being passive (accepting everything that comes your way) and being aggressive (being aggressive towards others).
Tips on being more assertive:
👉 Get into the habit of saying what you really think even if you are certain that people will not like what they hear. It’s just your opinion, it’s neither right or wrong.
👉 Value yourself and your rights. Recognise that you should be treated with respect and dignity like everybody else and if you feel that such expectations are not met – let the people involved know about it.
👉 Tell what you need and want with confidence. Don’t wait for others to notice what it is that you need in order to perform at your full capacity.
👉 Learn to say ‘no’ and not feel bad about it. You can’t please everyone or do everything that others ask of you. It’s your time and you choose how you spend it.
👉 Choose words/phrases that are more appropriate in certain situations. Sometimes we lose the meaning or importance of what we say by using words that make us sound less confident. Eliminate such words as just, maybe, think, could, should and replace them with the ones that sound firmer – need, choose, have to, do, want, etc.
Self-promotion involves everything from talking about your achievements and skills at work to giving talks and writing a blog about yourself and the things you know about. A self-promotion is really a chance for you to show your competence, talents and capability to do something.
However, if you are like the majority of people, then self-promotion doesn’t really sound that appealing to you at all. Especially when it comes to direct promotion, which involves talking face-to-face about your achievements and all the awesome things you do or did in the past. You may be even thinking that as long as you work hard and get the things done, then others will notice how smart, talented and skilful you are.
But the truth is… while some of the people might notice how great you are and how much you can offer, it’s not very likely that you will be widely noticed or recognised unless you self-promote and tell the world about yourself.
It holds true when it comes to life in general, but it’s even more so when it comes to your job. It’s quite common to believe (probably rightfully so) that effective self-promotion has a direct impact on the career advancement. And although the research done on the effectiveness of self-promotion showed inconclusive results and thus cannot be proven, it’s still a common piece of advice that many couches and career mentors give.
Tips on self-promotion:
👉 Make use of social media – promote your work, achievements and share expertise wherever you can. Be strategic about it, communicate only the things that you want to be known for.
👉 Don’t wait for your performance review to tell your manager how well your projects have performed. Send your manager an email outlining the results you are proud of as soon as you know them. Let your team know what projects you are taking and how hard you work to make them successful.
👉 Look for opportunities to present your expertise. You may write on industry publications or websites or you may prefer giving a presentation or talk at an industry conference. You can even organise your own workshops and events, where you could be a featured speaker… Opportunities are endless if you decide to go that route.
👉Attend relevant meetings and events. It’s your chance to meet new people who might be interested in what you or your company does and showcase what you are all about in a more personal setting.
👉 Join a network of like-minded people. Such online or offline networks may share ideas, advice or industry news. It’s also a good chance for you to showcase who you are, learn something new and find support in a group of people who are just like you.
Build a personal brand
Self-promotion is directly connected to your personal brand – how people view you and what they think about you. So whether we want it or not, we all have it! But if we don’t focus on it, then we have little control over it.
However, if you have an image in mind of how you would like to appear and be like, then you can have a little strategy in place and focus on exposing more of what you want and less of what you don’t want.
If you consistently self-promote and reinforce who you are and what you stand for in your life and career, you will eventually create a personal brand, which will connect your key competencies, opinions and skills together. Building a personal brand takes time, so the sooner you start – the better!
Tips on personal branding:
👉 First, identify who you are and what you do as part of your role at work. Figure out your core competencies, skills and strengths and focus on bringing more attention to those.
👉 Ask your friends, family and coworkers to define you in their own words. This will show you how others are currently experiencing you.
👉 Think about where you want to be in your organisation (or life) in a few years’ time. If you are working hard in your current position doing what you are supposed to do – you are building a certain type of personal brand that might be limiting your chances to become whom you really want to become. It’s necessary to think of the position that you want to reach at some point in your career and begin shaping your professional reputation as being someone who is capable of succeeding in that position as early as you possibly can. Engage in roles, projects, volunteering opportunities, and various initiatives that would enable you to strengthen this desired identity and demonstrate your abilities and skills.
👉 Tell your story and live it. Behave the way you need to behave in order to create the personal brand you want to create. Let others know your story and what it is you are all about.
👉 Speak at conferences and public events to share your knowledge with others. This might not be the easiest thing to do for many, but being a featured speaker is the quickest road to building a favourable professional reputation and showing credibility. Another good way to get yourself noticed is the regular use of social media and active engagement in relevant discussions online. Spend some time on Linkedin, Facebook groups or Quora and make it a habit to participate in relevant conversations.
👉 Chat with your coworkers. If you are somewhat like me, then you might prefer sitting with your head down till you get the stuff done. Which is cool as it makes you super-efficient and productive. However, internal relationship building is just as important as developing your skills, because people trust, support and promote people they know and like. And work is obviously so much more fun too!
👉 Speak up more. If you fail to say and ask anything in a meeting, conference or workshops, you will not be noticed. That’s the hard reality. If you want to build a more favourable personal brand than ‘the quiet one’, then find a way to speak up and engage in conversation wherever you can.
👉 Be consistent. Once you decide on what qualities and competencies you want to focus on – be consistent with it.
Learn to negotiate
You will find yourself negotiating in many different situations, where your needs and the needs of others differ. The easiest way to describe negotiation is by saying that it’s when two separate parties communicate with each other in order to reach an agreement that is favourable for both of them. And while both parties typically have some shared and some opposing goals and expectations, an effective and successful negotiation process enables to find a compromise that works for both of them. In other words, negotiation is about finding win-win solutions at all times.
Here are a few tactics that you can use in order to achieve the best results:
👉 Prepare well before you meet the person you’ll need to negotiate with. Think what your underlying interests are. What are your true aims, needs and objectives of this particular negotiation and life in general? Be honest with yourself as this will give you a better understanding of what goals you need to achieve and what solutions are just not good enough for you and your current situation.
👉 Think about the people you will be negotiating with. What do you think they’ll want to achieve and what will be their expectations? It will be so much easier to get what you want when you find a way to satisfy the other party too. So whatever that is, make sure to find a way to meet their needs and expectations.
👉 Clarify the goals. Discuss and make sure you both understand where you stand and what goals you want to achieve as a result of this negotiation.
👉 Listen more than you talk. Listen to what is underneath the words the other person is saying. Try to observe the emotions and feelings in order to understand where the person is coming from.
👉Treat everyone involved fairly and with respect. No one likes being taken advantage of or treated unfairly. Be transparent in all you do and say.
👉 Focus on building real relationships. Start building the rapport and trust as early as possible. It’s just that people prefer doing business with people they like and trust.
👉 Think win-win. This should be an ultimate goal of any negotiation so both parties should focus on making sure that everyone involved is gaining something positive out of the whole process.
👉 Have some satisfactory alternatives ready. Some negotiations might not work as well as both parties might expect! Be ready to offer some other options/alternatives if you see that win-win situation at a current stage is just not possible – it might help the negotiation and won’t make you feel desperate to agree with something that you don’t view as being fully satisfactory.
👉 Always keep your commitments. Agreed to do something during the negotiation? Make sure you keep them 🙂
Interested to learn how to negotiate effectively? While doing the research for this post, I came across a couple of books repeatedly that I think could be real game changers for those who need them: The Handbook of Dispute Resolution & Getting to Yes.
Practise better communication
Communication is the transfer of information from one place to another. It can be non-verbal (when we use our body language to convey how we feel or what we think) or verbal (which can be either spoken or written).
While it sounds like something very simple because we all communicate – it isn’t. Communication apparently has many nuances… and to master effective communication might require some extra practice!
Effective communication is more than just talking to each other and exchanging information. Frequently, things we say and want to convey don’t reach our listeners successfully – they misunderstand or hear something different than intended, which leads to miscommunication and various misunderstandings.
It’s just natural for us to interpret the information we receive based on our own personality and our experiences. We think we understand something well and know what the person is meaning to say, but we usually fail to notice what is behind the words, be it the tone of voice, body language or words the person chooses to use.
Here are a few basic communication tips that you might find helpful:
👉 Listen more. It’s common for people to think about the next thing they are going to say while the other person is still talking to them. This makes it difficult to hear and truly understand what that person is really saying and where the conversation should be heading. When you are an engaged listener, you will not only show the person that you care and try to understand what he or she says, but you’ll also pick up the things that are not being said out loud, such as feelings and emotions.
👉 Give the most relevant information as early as possible. Our attention span, as you probably already know, is shockingly short, so it’s best if you tell the information that the person wants or needs to hear first, and only then support it with additional information.
👉 Observe and pay attention to the body language. When listening, look at the person’s facial expressions, posture, eye contact, gestures, and even breathing. This will tell you more than words ever will. Likewise, when you are talking to someone, be aware of what non-verbal cues you are sending. If you say one thing, but your body language says another – the person who listens to you may find it hard to understand what it is you are trying to say.
👉 Practise emotional intelligence. Take extra care in noticing the feelings and emotions of people you are having a conversation with and adjust your energy levels accordingly. This will make people more comfortable in your presence and the conversation will be much more effective.
👉 Be assertive. Express your emotions, opinions and needs in a clear, direct and concise manner. If you want something but are unable to express it properly in a way that a person can understand, don’t feel irritated or upset that you are not getting it – they might just be misunderstanding what it is that you want from them. Use firm language and stronger words when required. Most importantly, don’t shy away from explaining what it is you are really trying to say when someone doesn’t understand you the first time.
Find a good mentor
A mentor is a person who shares their skills, knowledge, experience and professional contacts with you. Mentors can guide you, help you set career goals, make better decisions and solve problems.
Finding the person who is willing to help you in this way is crucial for success. Actually, it seems that people who have mentors tend to earn higher wages, get promoted more frequently and are more successful and satisfied with their overall work situation. I assume they tend to be happier with their life too 🙂
Finding a good mentor can be rather tricky, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s difficult. Your mentor can be pretty much anyone who has achieved more than you have and is in such a place in their career or life where you’d like to be at some point in the future – it may be your teacher, parent, co-worker, friend or manager…
Some people find their mentors without doing anything special. Just by developing honest and close relationships with those who know what they are doing and are willing to share their knowledge and contacts with others. Others might need to look for one specifically if they cannot see anyone suitable in their close environment.
If you don’t have a mentor yet, these tips might help you find one:
👉 Decide what kind of person you are looking for. What it is you need help with, how often would you like to meet or talk to them, what type of personality would you like them to have, etc.
👉 Look for one in your immediate network. It will be so much easier to find a mentor if he or she is someone you already know. Think of all your previous and current co-workers, classmates, tutors and friends.
👉 If you can’t find anyone, then look for one online. You might be able to find one on social media or websites that specialise in matching mentors to mentees.
👉 Contact the people you are interested in. Ping them an email and try to establish some kind of relationship. They might not be interested in mentoring you right away, but developing a relationship first and making sure they like you will make them more willing to accept your request and spend time on you and your success.
👉 If you can’t find anyone who would be interested in mentoring you just yet, find a way to learn the things on your own. Let’s say you found someone on social media that you’d like to mentor you. Chances are, they are sharing a lot of information about the things that are relevant to you, so read the content they produce and take note of their lifestyle. This might give you a fair share of useful information that you could apply in your life. It’s probably the easiest way to start before you find someone special who wants to help you succeed in life.
Speak up more frequently
Whether you express your opinion at work or not, it defines the value you bring to the organisation. It’s highly affected by how often you speak up and how often you allow people to experience you and where you stand.
It’s important to speak up when you need to. But it’s also important to be consistent and balanced in how often you do so. While not speaking up can really hurt you in a way that others will define what you should be thinking and standing for, speaking up too much can make you vulnerable to criticism, which may affect your life in a workplace negatively too.
Speaking up doesn’t come naturally for many people. Some might find it to be quite intimidating or impolite, especially when it comes to speaking over someone else and thus interrupting others. But look at it this way: there is a reason why you are in this particular meeting – it’s because you need to hear important information being delivered and because your opinion matters! Especially if it can influence the decisions that are being discussed and provide information that some parties in the meeting are not aware of.
Here are the tips on when and how to speak up:
👉 Ask for what you want. The majority of the opportunities arise as a direct result of asking for them. If you don’t ask, then no one will know you want something, which will make it more likely for you to lose important opportunities and projects. Always show eagerness and enthusiasm to take on a new role or project that interests you.
👉 Discuss arising issues openly to receive input. Be open to receiving feedback and new perspectives in order to help you drive better outcomes.
👉 Self-promote. Always let the people concerned know what you are working on and how much effort you are actually putting in in order to do something.
👉 Be strategic about it. Consistently speaking up can strengthen your influence. And being influential in the organisation usually leads to new projects, leadership opportunities and respect. It also increases your chances to get your ideas and talents discovered by the key people in the organisation.
👉 Use words to establish your personal brand. It’s easier for people to get to know you when you consistently share your ideas and opinions. If you can express yourself appropriately at work – your co-workers will take notice and know what to expect from you. It builds trust, helps you bring more value and makes you appear more competent.
👉 Finding your voice takes time and experience. But once you do – help other voices be heard too! Once you feel confident in speaking up, you will notice people who are not. Help them overcome the challenges that you once had. Give credit to your co-workers and interrupt if you need to on behalf of someone who struggles to speak up when they want to.
Become a good leader
Leadership may mean different things to different people but in its essence – it’s about creating an inspiring vision, motivating others to engage in that vision and setting the right direction for the team to achieve that vision.
Susan Colantuono, a globally recognised expert in women’s leadership development, describes leadership as one’s ability to use one’s own skills, talents and abilities to motivate and encourage the team and use their skills, abilities and talents to provide extraordinary outcomes beneficial for the company.
A good and experienced leader will use a variety of leadership styles depending on the situation and the team they need to manage in order to achieve goals. Less experienced leaders, however, tend to fall in just one leadership style, which may make it harder for them to motivate their team and thus achieve extraordinary outcomes on a regular basis.
There is a brief explanation of 5 main leadership styles, which have a varying degree of effectiveness:
1️⃣ Authoritarian Leadership (aka transactional or autocratic)
This type of leader will have a lot of power over the members of the team. An authoritarian leader will tell what needs to be done and how without asking for any advice or accepting suggestions from others. This type of leadership is best if applied only occasionally and in a specific situation such as routine and unskilled tasks or crisis. If this leadership style is used in excess, employees will lose their job satisfaction and may even resent you, which can lead to frequent staff turnover and lack of creativity in a workplace.
2️⃣ Procedural Leadership (aka managerial, bureaucratic or task-oriented)
This type of leadership focuses on getting the job done and instilling the habit to follow the procedures precisely. It’s quite autocratic but does well in situations that involve tasks requiring great attention to detail. It involves a great deal of planning, organisation and monitoring. It is low on flexibility and may demotivate employees, which can make it hard to keep them at the workplace for long.
3️⃣ Laissez-Faire Leadership (aka delegative or servant)
This type of leadership has a low amount of control and mostly focuses on observation, participation and advising. A leader is usually not even formally recognised, because the whole team is involved in making decisions. The person who uses this type of leadership is usually called a servant because he or she leads by meeting the needs of his/her team members.
This type of leadership can be effective if the leader monitors what is being achieved and continuously communicates it to the team. It does, however, require a huge amount of trust in the team as it assumes that all team members are experienced and skilled and thus capable to make decisions and determine what needs to be done and how. While it works well in situations where the leader recognises that they need to have insights and help from their team in order to achieve set goals, it is less effective in situations that require quality and productivity.
4️⃣ Transformational Leadership (aka charismatic)
This style of leadership relies on the leader’s ability to inspire the team with their vision. In other words, the leader will tell the team what needs to be achieved and will allow each member to choose their own way of attaining it.
Transformation leaders depend on their charisma and energy to inspire. They are highly visible and spend a lot of time communicating with their team members, organising, supporting and developing each and everyone to the best of their ability.
Charismatic leaders succeed by delegating tasks responsibly and leading to good team dynamics and creative collaborations. The main focus is always on the big picture, which means that it’s important for the leader to be surrounded by people who can take care of the details. If the leader is not supported by such people, this leadership style may make it very hard for the team to achieve the goals lined up.
5️⃣ Participative Leadership (aka democratic or consulting)
Participative leadership is all about teamwork and shared ideas and knowledge. So… this type of leader will ask the team to contribute their ideas and opinions in order to make a final decision.
Democratic leaders accept the fact that they don’t know everything and that their team’s input is greatly important to them. Thus, the team is kept informed at all times and allowed to discuss and propose various changes that they might think are needed.
It does offer some major benefits: each member can feel an important part of the team and in control of their organisation, which leads to increased motivation to work hard and job satisfaction. However, it may lead to an inability to reach decisions quickly or confusion among team members. This leadership style works well in situations where quality is more important than speed or productivity.
Here are some tips on how to become a leader:
👉 Act on opportunities as they present themselves and lead these before others even know that you could do that.
👉 Take responsibility. Set priorities to achieve the goals that are important.
👉 Display a ‘can do’ attitude at all times. Be confident and let the team feel that they can rely on you to solve occurring problems or make things happen.
👉 Always be ready to go the extra mile. Don’t just do your tasks – go beyond what was asked of you. Do work that gets you noticed!
👉 Show enthusiasm. No matter the tasks or situations – show enthusiasm to be there at this specific moment to tackle them.
👉 Don’t run away from problems. Resolve them as they occur and show your team that they can trust you to do so.
👉 Introduce improvements to the way things are done or find new, better way to handle things.
👉 Keep learning. This will not only make you a better employee or leader but will also make others more confident of your ability to lead the team.
Grow your network
If you are serious about your career, then you most likely have already heard of or even visited some networking events – places, where you can meet new friends and interesting people to talk to. Or, if you are not the most socially comfortable person in the world – places, where you awkwardly walk around searching for the friendliest looking person that you could chat with…
However, such events are not the only places where you can expand your network. You can also meet new people in seminars, workshops, company dinners, various meetups and even online! Think Linkedin/Facebook groups or Shapr. These are as useful, beneficial and maybe even crucial as typical business networking events because you can meet some really important people. And I am not necessarily talking about the next big client, but about people, with whom you can collaborate, become friends, co-found something… you can also find your future mentor there!
Here are the tips on how to get the most out of your networking situations:
👉 Prepare an elevator pitch of what you do and who you are. Having a well thought of and crafted pitch will ensure that you cover the most important parts when introducing yourself to new connections.
👉 Keep it informal and fun. Even if you find yourself saying your elevator pitch from one person to another – make sure it’s not something you’ve learned by heart. Improvise! Be friendly. Tell them more information than they ask and ask them to talk about themselves. Don’t focus on talking about business only, try to develop a relationship.
👉 Think of some topics you’d love to talk about. If you are going somewhere, where you know you’ll have an opportunity to network – prepare some conversation topics to break the ice. You will feel down if you meet someone you really want to talk to but don’t know what to say…
👉 Always follow up. Make sure you’ve got an email address or social media handle of people you’ve just met. If you just leave and don’t follow up – you might never meet these people again, which will give little value to you. Send them a message as soon as you get back home and try to keep in touch from time to time.
👉 Introduce your new connection to people that matter to them if you have any. Help others first – they will remember this and will be more willing to help you if the opportunity arises.
👉 Make use of social media. You don’t necessarily need to go to physical events in order to meet people – so many opportunities to do that online. Use it! Send a message to those who interest you and try to have interesting conversations with them.
Engage your team
As a CEO, manager or a team leader, one of the main responsibilities you will find yourself having is engaging teams.
Why is it so important?
An engaged team member feels as a part of a larger purpose and wants to go above and beyond what is expected of him/her. Such employees always deliver, they love what they do, they are loyal to the company and they want to see it succeed. Engaged team members not only work harder than other employees but they also invest in the company mentally and emotionally, which makes them truly care about its success. Most importantly, they will want to help you develop new strategies to grow the company and make it better!
Here are some tips on how you can build engaged teams:
👉 Give them autonomy to make decisions based on their expertise. Although it’s easier said than done, giving people autonomy will make them work harder because they will feel responsible for the results.
👉 Get to know each person from your team. Half of your day is spent at work, so better become friends with your co-workers. Knowing who they are as people and what are their more personal needs will enable you to care for them better and prepare them for the tasks needed to get done.
👉 Reward their hard work. It’s important that you notice what they do for the company and how much effort they put in. Always say thank you, praise them publicly, treat them to lunch or give special bonuses. They need to know that their work is noticed in order to continue going that extra mile.
👉 Encourage them to keep learning. New skills will not only help your team members be more confident but will also help your business grow faster. Invest in courses or additional training and encourage them to do additional reading or learning at work too.
👉 Be accessible and approachable. Your team needs to know that you are there when they need you and that they can easily approach you should they need to ask questions or offer ideas.
👉 Let them take charge from time to time. Offer them to take the ownership of some projects without directing them – let them succeed and let them fail (as long as they can learn from their mistakes). They need to know that you trust them and that they are good enough to handle projects themselves.
👉 Write and connect your team to a purpose, which explains why the company exists, what it does, who for and why.
👉 Provide a safe environment. Give them the opportunity to give feedback and share insights or ideas anonymously if so needed. Let them open up in a way that makes them comfortable doing so. Gather this information and make changes accordingly.
👉 Communicate clearly and don’t shy away from repeating things over and over again. Talk about the ‘big picture’ on a regular basis in different ways. Eventually, your team will begin to hear and understand their true role in the company.
👉 Offer various perks enabling your team to connect on a more personal level. Provide extra activities, games, free meals, or team evenings, where they can feel relaxed and able to spend some quality time with co-workers.
👉 Set goals. Work with your team to set goals and targets that impact the bigger picture and reward these achievements accordingly. This is the easiest way for you to show them how they contribute to the overall success of the company.
The missing 33%.
While developing these 12 skills will enable you to move up your career ladder, be better at your job and become generally more successful, they might not be enough if your goal is to reach the very top of your organisation. At least this is what Susan Colantuono’s research showed.
According to her, one’s ability to continuously provide extraordinary outcomes in the organisation is twice as important as anything else. But in order to do that, you need the missing 33% that not all career mentors and couches are talking about. Especially when it comes to mentoring women 🙂 Find out what it is here – The Missing 33% For Your Career Success.