How to Impress Your Boss: 11 Action Steps to Become a Superstar Employee – Part 2
Every person has a superstar within them waiting to emerge, as Sly and the Family Stone said in a song, “Everybody is a star.” This is part 2 of three articles. Here we will discuss the first five actions steps and characteristics that will move you to the top of the heap as an employee. Do you want to ramp up your career and move ahead? Read on!
7. Give eight for eight or ten for ten. Handle the tasks no one else likes to do and do them well.
The first step is to learn how to do your job and do it well. Carry your weight. If you carry a little more than what’s yours to carry, so much the better. After all, your first responsibility is to earn the money that you’re being paid. Some of our early employers called it, “eight for eight or ten for ten.” It was a basic recognition and acceptance of a fundamental employment contract. You agree to pay me in exchange for doing work for you. We define the work and the role and agree upon a wage for that work. If I do the work, you’re obligated to pay me according to our agreement. If you look at the bulleted list in part 1 of this article series, what you’ll find is that a lot of your colleagues add addendums to the contract, or simply refuse to honor some aspects of the agreement. This becomes a management problem very quickly and conflict, blame, fault-finding, argument, lack of trust and poor teamwork quickly begin to show up in the workplace. If you, on the other hand, do your job – your complete job, including the hard or less desirable parts and the parts that others have a tendency to ignore, shrug off or refuse, you immediately begin to stand out as someone who is easy to work with. We’re not saying you should automatically step in and do all of the things that nobody else is willing to do without comment. But, if you do your share and your part without complaining and do it well, it will be noticed and appreciated by your boss. Yes, this includes making coffee when everyone else drinks it and leaves the coffee pot empty, and clearing jams in the copy machine even if your pay grade is way above that kind of work.
8. Learn your job and do it well.
This may sound like a “no brainer,” but you’ll be amazed how many of your colleagues don’t know how to handle customer transactions that are an everyday expectation. Meet your deadlines and commitments, pay attention to your spelling, grammar and punctuation in written documents, and cooperate with those who depend on you to do your work in order to do theirs.
9. Know your business. Keep your eye on the big picture.
Even if you’re in an industry that you don’t plan on being in forever, you should know your business. Ask yourself, “How does this company make money? What do our customers want and expect from us. What are our products and services? How do the systems we rely on work to allow us to deliver?”
It’s what you do every day, so you may as well be the best at it. This includes knowing the industry, keep your eyes open for new developments in your industry or business specialty. This awareness of the “bigger picture” gives you access to conversations about future opportunities or risks that affect the business. This knowledge and perspective translates into credibility and potential for future jobs or roles that require such perspective and personal initiative. So, when a news story that covers your industry pops up in the news or in a professional journal, clip it and e-mail a scan of it to your team, your boss included.
10. Keep a clean workspace.
This is about being organized and on top of your job. Whatever your workspace consists of, it is important for it to be organized and “professional looking.” It is a bit of a balancing act because you want your space to look worked in: not too cluttered, but not totally bare. If you have no paper or work tools on your desk, it doesn’t look like you’re working. But, if you have no desk visible under all that paper, it doesn’t look like you’re working either. Your disorganization makes it appear that your job is beyond your control. If the stuff you have out is that important, it’s worth having it organized and usable. When you leave work, take a few minutes to organize your workspace for the next day. This is one of several places where the appearance takes on a bigger meaning than reality.
11. Come in early and leave late.
It is important to avoid that common tendency to get to work just before the time clock strikes “starting time” and having your keys in your hand, ready to go out the door when it strikes, “day’s over.” Every boss we’ve ever known has expressed their feeling that no one really wants to be there, and that they’re really getting taken for a ride instead of getting your best effort for the full day. An investment of another 10 to 15 minutes on each side of your day can pay off big time for you. If you’re there and ready to start a productive workday 10-15 minutes before the clock hits start time and finish your day and begin to get ready to leave after the clock shows quitting time, your boss will see a whole different investment from you. Instead of looking like you hate to be there and that you’ll do anything you can to spend the least amount of time possible at your job, now it looks like you’re an investment that’s paying off. It also looks like you’re excited about your job, which separates you from everyone else in your role.
These action steps provide the start for transforming your efforts above and beyond others. It takes persistence and determination but you can do it.
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Finally, do you want to accelerate your leadership success? Go here for Rick’s Superstar Leadership eBook.