Respect the people you work with. Treat them well, no matter what their role, status or job description, and they’ll almost certainly help you advance in your career.
If that sounds overly idealistic in a tough world, check out Adam Bryant’s new book, Quick and Nimble: Lessons from Leading CEOs on How to Create a Culture of Innovation, which illustrates how a culture of respect pays off in multiple ways.
Dozens of CEOs and other leaders explained that showing respect to people at work helps get the best results. This memorable insight comes from Robin Domeniconi, former chief brand officer for the Elle Group: “I don’t need everyone to be best friends, but I need to have a team with MRI”– her acronym for “most respectful interpretation.”
People can disagree and see things differently, she explained, but they still need to respect the other guy’s point of view. “You can say anything to anyone, as long as you say it the right way,” she told Bryant.
Jeffrey Katzenberg of DreamWorks Animation put it this way: “I believe the quality of the followers [at a company] is in direct correlation to the respect you hold them in.”
Irwin D. Simon of Hain Celestial Group, a natural and organic food and personal care products company, said this: “Just by treating people right, I find they want to be part of your team.”
What else, aside from showing respect, can you do this year to improve yourself at work, accomplish your career goals, and succeed? Experts share these additional tips for getting ahead in 2014:
Learn something new. Sharpening your skills or educating yourself about a new angle of your industry is key to being able to advance. Learning how to use social networking effectively for your company brand is one idea. Who wants to work with someone (or pay someone) who’s running in place? If being in a learning mode is awkward for a short time, so be it – you’ll ultimately bring more to the table because of the risks you took. “When we’re learning, we’re like the spindly newborn colt who can’t fully stand on his own legs,” says career consultant Michele Woodward. “We wobble – until we get it. But then when we get it, that’s powerful.”
Strive to be a clear communicator. “Whatever it takes for you to be clear in what you say, what you write, in what you bring to a meeting – do it,” says Woodward. Time is short. A great deal needs to get done. The pace of the world is quick and demanding. If you’re unclear, hesitant or foggy in your communication, you risk being misunderstood, overlooked – or, worse, left behind.
Over-deliver. Jack and Suzy Welch explained it this way in a commencement speech last year to college grads: “To get an A-plus in business, you have to expand the organization’s expectations of you and then exceed them… Your goal should be to make your bosses smarter, your team more effective, and the whole company more competitive because of your energy, creativity and insights.”
Get out of your office. Meet people. Network. Travel. Only workhorses glued to their screens get ahead, right? Guess again – that concept died decades ago. In today’s global marketplace, companies want people with fresh ideas, marketable skills, new thinking and tons of intelligence – not to mention contacts and the ability to be comfortable with an array of others. Such “soft skills” are what set you apart. “Winning in the workplace mandates that you know who you are, where your greatest strengths lie, and how to differentiate yourself,” advises Dan Schawbel, author of Promote Yourself: The New Rules for Career Success.
Be prepared to look for another job – not because you’ll be let go or downsized tomorrow, but because in today’s world, “our typical work history is going to be three careers over our lifetime and at least eight jobs,” says Richard Bolles in the new edition of his classic, What Color Is Your Parachute? You may have a job you enjoy today – but sooner than you think, “you may be job hunting again,” he explains. It can’t hurt to be prepared for that opportunity by keeping your resume up to date and by staying connected to others in your field at industry events and on social media.
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