10 Easy Strategies that will make you a Rock star at Work!
By L. Aruna Dhir, A Hospitality & Feature Writer and Columnist
Amidst all the jargon thrown up by self-help journals and wisdom gleaned out of Handbooks by Business leaders, it is seen that often it is the very simple things that make a huge difference.
But it is our gene for excellence that puts the zeal, drive and perseverance into our endeavours to excel and achieve. Those with the "Excellence gene" also recognize the benefit of simple strategies that keep us on the top of our game and in the reckoning for the next big opportunity.
Revisit your work practices and infuse the following simple rules to make your professional ride less bumpy and more rewarding.
1. Smile. And smile genuinely!
Whether you open doors, carry luggage, devise strategies, cook award winning meals, pour the glass of expensive wine or sit in the corner office managing the entire show, one of the basic thumb rules to follow is - to smile.
Training Managers, all over the world, will tell you that people can also 'see' you smile over a telephonic conversation. Smiling when speaking on the phone (and in these times on Skype, chats, Vimeo or what have you) is a surefire clincher for a deal and the super glue that has the propensity to seal your business relationship.
Whether you are a PR person, a journalist, a service provider, a client, a telecaller, a smile is the perfect bridge over which you should lug your professional wares; even when dishing out something that may not be too palatable.
2. Give Feedback!
When I was working with Australia's Diplomatic Mission as a rookie, I erred on one of my first assignments. I was handling the case of a PhD scholar and dealing with the Indian Ministry of Education on his behalf. I was doing all that had to be done to sort out all issues but I lacked in one important aspect.
The lacuna in my handling of the case only dawned on me when the gent started sending harried messages to the High Commissioner wanting to know if anything was being done for him at all. In my naiveté, I had decided that I would only brief him once everything was finalized.
That was a big mistake which not only made the High Commission look ineffective, it caused embarrassment to my boss, the Counsellor of Public Affairs in front of the High Commissioner. And worst of all, it soiled my reputation of being a professional, despite having worked well on the case.
I learned my lesson the very hard way. Please remember to always give feedback; no matter how busy you are and which chair you fill up. In fact, not just unprofessional, it is plain bad manners if you don't.
I once had a boss who would respond to everybody on every message that he received - himself and not through his secretary - even as he ran one hell of a busy show at work. One great lesson I learned from him - as long as you respond, even with a word or a line you have covered a lot of ground.
3. Be Civil. Be Civilized!
In the area of hospitality, we are ladies and gentlemen serving ladies and gentlemen; as the Ritz Carlton Hotel Company so beautifully describes. And this holds true for every service sector; actually in the non-service ones too.
There was once this European General Manger who said to his Financial Controller, "I'll take your pants off," in the Morning Briefing, in front of the rest of the Excom!!!
If you are taking the trouble to step out from the cozy comfort of your hearth and go out into the big bad and competitive world of work - to make a name or living or moolah or all - you owe it to the world and your professional persona to be courteous, always, even when your patience, intellect, wit and wisdom are sorely tried.
There is just no other way, Mate!
4. Show Gratitude!
A sense of gratitude will keep you grounded and help you not be a stuffed shirt that nobody ever likes. Besides, the attitude you throw into the Universe always comes back to haunt or enchant you, as the case may be.
You have a job, a good job that pays you well, recognizes your contribution and allows you to grow; then there is a lot going for you to be grateful for.
What the heck, in today's times of global recession and retrenchment, just having a job that pays is one hell of a reason to be grateful for.
5. Work extensively in CSR! Show Individual Responsibility too!
In our digitally dynamic world that mostly stays on overdrive, there is enough opportunity for us to align ourselves with causes that speak to us and in the process get our organizations involved. Being responsible and conscientious as an individual paves the way; and getting all that corporate muscle of your organization behind you provides a remarkable fillip to the causes espoused.
Warren Buffet, Bill and Melinda Gates, Azim Premji, Oprah Winfrey are known as much for their philanthropic pursuits as for their business acumen and for appearing on the lists of World's most famous, most influential and rich. With such examples before us, why wouldn't we want to join the league!
6. Do not indulge in gossip! Ever!
No matter how much relief, momentary pleasure or feeling of getting back to somebody this nasty habit brings, we should resist this deplorable escape route from stress. Gossip can never bring succour. We must look out for brighter, more positive and fruitful avenues to make it a win-win situation.
Besides, gossip is the kind of slush that is bound to splatter on you, as what goes around comes around.
Build up your reputation on honesty, integrity, hard and clean work. Desist from being someone who cannot be trusted, who has a weak mouth and a weaker gut.
7. Be on your best Behaviour!
Our behaviour is a reflection of our personality. It is a wholesome whole of the subsets of our thoughts, prejudices, values and beliefs.
To be an outstanding leader and a good team player, we must endeavour to employ a crisp ABC of conducive behaviour -
Enthusiasm in our Attitude - as it helps us be more productive, is infectious, assists us in sailing through choppy seas at work and rise and shine even when it's overcast.
Buddy Up with the team and bulldoze to tease out the best talent in all so that the common pool of excellence always strives to create, innovate and perform remarkably.
Compassion in one's Character - It is an age old Tao that we have no business to judge others unless and until we have walked their unique paths. Just as in life, in the sanitized sanctum of offices too, we need to show compassion to our peers, our subordinates and yes to our bosses as well.
8. Be Responsible in everything you do!
Do not develop the habit of passing the buck.
Be responsible for your words, your actions, your portfolio, for your team and their actions. With robust responsibility come great rewards, greater recognition and a far bigger sense of accomplishment.
9. Keep your Communication crystal clear!
Whatever may be your line of expertise and choice of vocation, clarity in communication is one of your biggest assets. It helps you be unambiguous and to be clearly understood.
Also avoid confusion in your interactions by being lucid, to the point and with an understanding of the other perspectives. Resist being verbose, needlessly. And stay away from using unnecessary jargon.
10. Don't be part of the problem. Be the Problem Solver!
There will always be problems at work - personnel-related, business-centric, performance-led (or the lack thereof), market-induced, competition-created, economic, political, even ethnic or religiously motivated.
Most of us, unfortunately, tend to fan the issues with our temperaments and attitudes, rather than attempting to nip the issues in the bud. There are enough of us releasing hot air in meetings, raking up issues on email, taking to the equivalent of temper tantrums at work; instead of bringing calm to a turbulent situation, soothing out frayed nerves, bringing sense to the table, giving solace to team members and endeavouring to keep our workplace clean, harmonious and balanced.
What will make you stand out as a leader will be your accent on these situations, the ability to right the wrong, the perspicacity to influence others, to assist the management to steer to more stable waters and above-all to add to the bottomline as problems unhandled or mishandled are directly proportional to business adversely affected.
So what would you like to be - a stumbling rock or the Rock star?