This is the mindset you need to get ahead in your career.
November 9, 2016
What do you want to be when you grow up? Some of us never stop pondering that question, while others know exactly where they’re going and how long it’ll take. Whether you’re in either camp or somewhere in between, you must adopt a certain mindset if you truly want to succeed. These achievement-centric traits are independent of industry or pay grade and can be applied immediately to propel you toward any career goal. Here’s what you’ll need:
- Enthusiasm for learning. Managers love to see their employees engaged and curious about what they do. Asking questions and requesting supplemental resources will not only make you better at your job, but it will also signal to your boss that you are serious about your career.
- Devotion to the team. Regardless of whether or not you get along well with your co-workers, make an effort to support them. You’re all working toward a common objective and rely heavily on each other. It’s through solid teamwork that you will excel.
- Commitment to helping. It’s not enough to do what’s asked of you and leave it at that. Showing initiative and lending a hand demonstrates you’re a team player and are concerned about the overall success of the organization—an attitude that won’t go unnoticed by employers.
- Readiness to seek support. Many people are reluctant to ask for help because they worry they’ll be seen as weak or incompetent, but it’s actually smart. Calling for backup saves you from wasting precious time or making a bad situation worse. Just as you’re there to help out your colleagues, they too are there to support you.
- Desire to push your limits. The next time you’re working on a complex problem, push yourself to think outside the box and come up with unorthodox solutions instead of choosing the first obvious option that comes to mind. Similarly, try to find alternative ways of doing things that can make you work faster or more efficiently. Pushing yourself to exceed expectations is a great way of showing your boss how much you care about your job and the organization.
- Willingness to apologize. No matter how hard you work or how much help you get, at some point you might make a mistake. It’s important to remember that your boss won’t care so much about what you did, but how you handled it. Always be forthright and apologize, then make an action plan to fix the mistake.
- Demonstration of respect. Eventually, if all goes well, you’ll come to realize that you are indeed a hotshot. Don’t let this get to your head. Humility and respect for the people around you and your working environment is mandatory, not because it’ll boost your career—it’s just how decent people behave.
- Unmistakable confidence. This might seem to run counter to the previous point, but it is possible to be humble and confident at the same time. Need proof? Just talk to Idris Elba.
- Emotional intelligence. As you advance in your career, being able to manage your emotions and understand how other people are feeling will become increasingly critical. Here’s a post we wrote about emotional intelligence and how it can make you a more effective leader.
- Genuine, sincere honesty. At the end of the day, your employer will be able to sense if you’re only doing all this to get promoted. You shouldn’t have to fake or force any of the above traits; in the right working environment they’ll feel natural. If they don’t, you might want to consider changing jobs.
Improve your professional development
Now that it’s increasingly normal to switch careers every few years, building a long-term career path is a big challenge. One place you can start is by developing your personal brand. Figuring out your personal brand will help you navigate everything from job interviews to performance reviews. Click here to find out more.