Workplace Success Skills

April 04, 2020

Workplace Success Skills

Succeeding in the workplace isn’t just about what you do for a living but also about how you do it. There are certain skills, regardless of your area of expertise, which will benefit both you and your employer.  The following tips will help you develop your job skills by growing your talents, behaving professionally, and developing relationships:

Growing Your Talents

Regardless of when your formal educational training ends, be it high school, college, trade school, or graduate school, learning never stops.  Improving yourself with continual education will work to your advantage, so here are some tips designed to help grow your workplace talent:

  • Challenge yourself- Bored people tend to lose momentum and motivation quickly. If you invest all your energy into simple projects you will feel unfulfilled.  Stretch yourself to reach your full potential.
  • Ask questions- Clear away confusion on any task by asking for clarification. Avoid guessing or making assumptions.  Inquiring on the front-end of a project is better than doing a poor job.  You will also benefit from others’ knowledge and their mistakes. 
  • Attend professional development events- Seek out trainings, workshops, conferences, and materials that will help you grow in your career and meet your professional goals. Try to find opportunities that excite you so you will stay engaged and be motivated to apply new knowledge to your work.
  • Problem solve- It’s generally not a good practice to avoid tough situations or difficult tasks in the workplace. Tackling problems head-on demonstrates your commitment to being part of the solution.  Engage others to help you prevent workplace conflicts and work together to manage dilemmas. 

Behaving Professionally

Workplace etiquette is present in every organization, whether written or implied.  Acting in a professional manner will enhance your value to the overall team.  These strategies help you conduct yourself appropriately in the workplace:

  • Be on time- Punctuality matters. Showing up late for work or meetings demonstrates a lack of interest.  Being prompt communicates you take your work seriously.
  • Dress professionally- Even if some employees dress casually, take your business fashion cues from those who are dressed well and look professional.
  • Watch technology use- Surfing the Internet and checking your social media accounts could work against you. Many people consider it rude to accept a personal phone call during a business meeting, so you would be wise to avoid this practice as a general rule.  It’s best to keep your personal phone on silent or in a pocket or purse.    
  • Be clean- Keep your desk or workplace clutter-free and tidy. Be sure to clean up after yourself when eating lunch or a mid-day snack.  No one wants to wash extra coffee mugs and throw out old food from the breakroom refrigerator. 
  • Check your wording- Keep your written communications professional with proper grammar and correct spelling. Be sure to use a person’s appropriate title as well.
  • Only take what’s yours- Stealing or “borrowing” office supplies without permission will only reflect poorly on you. It could also result in early termination.  Steer clear of this practice, and don’t take what’s not yours. 

Developing Relationships

Working together as a team helps everyone reach their greatest potential and your workplace’s optimum success.  The following hints will guide you in your workplace relationships:

  • Acknowledge others- When you see others doing a good job, tell them. Honoring an individual’s effort encourages the team and boosts workplace morale.  Never take recognition for a task someone else completed.  Give credit where it’s due. 
  • Check body language- Answering phone calls with a bored or depressed tone of voice, not smiling, and slouching in meetings can send a negative message to your colleagues and customers. Poor body language can also lower your own confidence and mood. 
  • Find mentors- Seek out an experienced coworker to provide guidance and feedback on your job performance. Your mentor doesn’t need to be your boss, just someone whose experience can benefit you and your goals.
  • Avoid gossip- Try to avoid saying negative things about someone in their absence. Participating in workplace gossip (even listening to it) is damaging to your reputation and can create a hostile work environment.  Try walking away or redirecting the conversation to mention a positive attribute of the individual being discussed.   
  • Don’t confront in public- If you’re experiencing conflict with a coworker, bringing it up in public or in a group meeting is not the place. Instead, approach the individual respectfully with your concerns.  Share facts and be willing to listen in return.  This will help keep the issue or problem from escalating.
  • Develop one-to-one relationships- Even if you don’t encounter certain people regularly, do your best to learn their name and what they do. Discovering their interests, hobbies, or other facts about them demonstrates your respect.  When you take an overall interest in another’s well being, they will be more likely to provide you with help in the future. 

One of the best ways to succeed in your workplace is to show drive and initiative.  Completing the minimum requirement for your job is acceptable, but it’s not admirable.  Show your employer your dedication with a strong work ethic and commitment to their company, and you will be on the path to success.  


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