It’s review time and there is a lot of talk about how the appraisals will go. Here is how taking pride in your workplace can impact your growth. I have been on both sides of the table.
Like a lot of professionals, I have constructed opinions on how people speak about what they do and their choice of career. A small inadvertent comment, a carelessly dropped sentence, body language, all lead to formulation of opinions. As an employer, I think taking pride in your work and your organization is highly important and should come naturally. If your eyes do not light up when you are talking about what you do, it is an immediate strike on your score sheet. If you don’t love what you do and where you spend 70% of your waking hours 5 days a week, then your long-term success is questionable. It all comes down to pride; it is something one invests in and ensures it is visibly demonstrated. I may get some flak from folks who think ‘social is a personal space’, but honestly, it is a reflection of an individual. If you would not hire someone whose drunken antics are plastered on Facebook or has his LinkedIn covered with ‘Good Morning’ posts every day, then why would you hire or promote someone who is completely disengaged from his workspace on the very same platforms?
You own it. Your name is on it – Everything that your company does, awesome or pathetic, it has your name on it. People contribute to the success and failure of projects, companies and their colleagues. It matters. Everything that you do. That trivial piece of work for a client, your contribution to a large-sale project or a part to play in a flawless delivery, you own that success; be proud of that.
In today’s connected world, participate, be a champion of your work and your organization, be vocal, and share the pride. On the flip side, droopy shoulders at work, not sharing that big win or the newly launched ad campaign, lack of demonstration of pride in the good things that matter, simply says that either your company has nothing to inspire you or you contribute nothing to be proud of. Either way, it’s best you go do something else; you are simply on the wrong place dragging yourself and your colleagues down.
Build a reputation on good work
Positive energy and demonstrated positivity comes from ownership. Be the best you can be – alert, lively, enthusiastic, knowledgeable. Show a hunger for learning and a passion for improvement. If you feel that you have ideas that can bring a positive change, share them and engage with your clients, stakeholders and of course, the management. Build a reputation for being the best that you can be, and take pride in that reputation. It’s true that those who are passionate about quality and growth (of their own and their organizations) bring that energy to every table they sit on. On the flip side, if you are disengaged, and live day-to-day keeping under the radar, then it’s best you do something else or go do what you do elsewhere; no one likes a mope or an average somebody.
Invest in not being a paper pusher. Be the person who creates value in everything that has your involvement. Build better things- from that email to the process to that department you may be setting up. Read, explore, self-learn and do more, do it better. Build that reputation, embrace the opportunity to grow and be proud of it. On the flip side, the industry is evolving, times are changing and if you do exactly what your predecessor did in your role, then you are redundant and a drag on your colleagues; it’s best you go do something else.
Embrace Your Role
Irrespective of your position or years of experience, you are a vital link in the chain. Recognize your importance in the larger picture, look like you matter and get in the game. What you do every day at work matters. You are crucial to things happening, be proud of that. On the flip side, someone who says “I did, but X could not” or “whatever I do nothing improves” is a wet blanket with nothing to contribute; like I said, it’s best you go do something else.
Take pride in the way you present yourself and your work. Dress like you are on the road to success. Give your tie, your crisply ironed shirt, polished shoes their due importance; and at your workstation, give importance to every email, every presentation, every slide. Invest in visual appeal and take pride in sending out that message. If you look sloppy, chances are that your work will be sloppy too. If you give the impression of sloppiness, it’s best you go do something else where sloppy will be okay.
Participate in Progress, Give Feedback
Pride comes with the realization that you make a difference. Participate in progress, give feedback, demonstrate your eye for detail and contribute to improvement. Take pride in the fact that you have a voice. No one likes a yes man who nods at everything. If you have built the reputation of nodding at everything, then chances are that you have low respect and low esteem at work. It’s best you go do something else which is better suited to that skill set.
Be a Positive Force
Be aware and demonstrate a keen sense of being positive at work. Embrace your organization’s history, culture and vision of the future. Your environment is what you make it; take pride in being a positive force at work. Engage with positive people, invest in building positivity around you and in your work environment. Remember what you achieved and what the future holds. Take pride in that joint achievement. On the flip side, steer clear of negative influences, people, ex-employees’ sub-standard practices. If you skew towards negativity, then you are clearly in the wrong place; you should go do something else.
Those who demonstrate lack of pride are easy enough to identify- being non-participative, keeping their heads down, not giving feedback even when asked and when things go south, these folks are the first to pass the buck clean on to someone, anyone. From a management perspective, the signs are all there. It’s best to identify them early on, course correct and create future plans by very clearly avoiding such folks. Face it, there are no organizations that haven’t seen failures or that time of low morale. In the last year alone, we saw layoffs, fudged emission data, recalls and more from companies over a century old and startups alike. It is safe to say that it happens to everyone in their lifecycle. What is different is how it is received and tackled by the people who happen to be the face of the organization. Make no bones about it- if you are an employee, then you are the face of the organization. I recently experienced both sides of the spectrum. A senior manager came up and had a conversation along with feedback which he felt would bring a positive change and strengthen the ethos of the team. He clearly outlined the solution as well as the role he was willing to play in the change. Pleasantly surprised the first thing that came to my mind was “we need more such professionals”. My respect for the individual has gone up manifold. On the other hand, a member of the leadership team listed out what “folks are doing wrong”. This ‘solutionless’ approach made me feel like he was out of his depth and has reached the peak of his capability; it’s only downhill from here.