Aristotle once said that “we are what we repeatedly do.” Indeed, our smallest habits culminate to shape who we are. But that also means that habits can steer you towards achieving success! While there isn’t a magic formula for career success, here are some great habits to get you started.
- Take criticism well
Always be receptive to constructive feedback and cast aside non-constructive ones – since they don’t add value, you don’t need to be affected by them. Constructive criticism, if taken the right way and acted upon, is always beneficial for growth. After all, no one is perfect and we are blind to our faults sometimes!
- Proofread your work. Then proofread some more.
Ever heard of “practice makes perfect”? With every effort to proofread, you refine not only that piece of writing, but also your ability to spot the most minute of errors. Start with double-checking your emails before going for the meatier stuff like reports and proposals. Force yourself to pay attention to detail and reduce minor errors, such as misspellings that will detonate your boss. It may be difficult and time-consuming initially, but will gradually get easier over time. Hang in there!
- Take initiative
Be proactive! Successful employees share that common trait of being fully autonomous and still producing generally great results. Muster courage and take the first step to suggest changes or ideas to your superiors or co-workers! Remember that exceptional employees do more than just their assigned duties.
- Make the effort to communicate
You may be the most hardworking bee in the hive but if you keep to your cubicle, that’s about as much result as you will get. Extraordinary employees are usually adept at the art of socialising in getting their efforts noticed – gossiping excluded (see 9.). An effective communicator knows when and what to speak. The best way to start is by being an active listener so you can value-add to conversations. This step also helps boost your confidence if you’re the shy introvert!
- Set goals
Want to get a pay raise or climb up the corporate ladder? How about improving your sales performance? Setting goals are essential to achieving workplace success since you can’t go anywhere if you don’t know where you want to go! Goals also force you to be clear with what you want to achieve. The tried and tested S.M.A.R.T. method of goal-setting works well. Aligning your tasks with your goals will give you greater purpose and direction throughout your career.
- Instil a learning attitude
Never stop improving. With the world moving at a faster pace each day, possessing a learning attitude ensure you stay relevant. Honing skills that can value-add to your workplace will transform you into an indispensable asset at your organisation.
- Volunteer for leadership opportunities
Offer to take up leadership roles such as managing new projects or guiding new interns. Such opportunities enable you to refine leadership capabilities and potentially set you up for managerial roles in future.
- Manage your time
Effective time management is a vital habit but many find it hard to do so, especially when faced with so many distractions such as checking out your colleague’s Facebook page. For every task, give yourself some leeway via setting aside buffer time whenever possible. Scrambling to meet those deadlines seldom results in polished work. Time well managed is time well spent!
- Stay away from gossip
While it may be tempting to engage “water cooler talk”, it may potentially backfire on you. Hence, the best kind of trouble is having no trouble at all! Any harmless remark, if interpreted wrongly or taken out of context, can easily develop into pernicious comments so stay away from gossip. At all costs.
- Say ‘no’ when you have to
It’s great that you’re an industrious ace but be careful not to overcommit. Doing too much translates to doing nothing well at all since no one runs a 48-hour day. Saying ‘no’ not only ensures that you’re working on the most important of tasks, but also builds that assertive character much needed for leadership responsibilities (see 7.)!