5 Smart Ways To Do A Better Job In 2014


Doing great work in a job you love increases your happiness and personal satisfaction. I’ve written previously on this topic, including Seven Habits of Highly Effective Employees.

Many people, especially after their annual reviews, resolve to do a better job “next year”. But a broad resolution to do better rarely helps unless you take specific steps to improve how you work.

Here are five specific things you can do now to do a better job in 2014.

1. Invest time daily to deliberate about the bigger picture. Before you jump into your daily tasks, spend a few minutes considering how your work will be used and by whom. Until you understand the scope of what you’re doing, it’s impossible for you to be creative in your work.

Sure, you can connect the dots and perform the assigned tasks, but the end product of your efforts will be far less valuable than if you took a few minutes to consider why you’re doing what you’re doing.

As I wrote earlier this year:

When you know how to do something, you have a skill that you can replicate to do the same thing again and again. But when you understand how and why something works, you not only have a skill, but you also can adapt your skill to changing situations.

2. Plan wisely before you execute. Some people spend a great deal of time planning but never execute anything worthwhile. Others jump right in without planning and often hit roadblocks.

The best and most successful employees think daily about the bigger picture, not just about the tasks they have to execute that day. They create a plan, execute, measure progress and obstacles, tweak their plan, and continue executing. Careful planning helps you succeed and your successes help you grow and become even more successful.

3. Find ways to help your colleagues succeed. Smart employees share credit for successes because they realize that nearly every project, even if it’s ultimately done by a single person, is  a team effort. The best teams in the world share a common trait: they embrace a collective vision and want to do something great together. They want to leave a dent in the universe. Great leaders promote these traits; poor leaders micro-manage.

4. Provide constructive feedback, but always offer a solution. People find it much easier to criticize others than to offer solutions. But critics are a dime-a-dozen and rarely valuable unless they also offer solutions.

Before you criticize, ask questions. Before you ask questions, think about what you want/need to know. And always strive to offer a solution.

5. Be a volunteer, not a draftee. If you’re regularly finding that your manager or boss asks you to do things, that’s natural. But if 100% of your job consists of doing things others ask you to do, you’re missing important opportunities to grow. In fact, if you measure your success by how well you performed the things you were assigned by someone else, you’re holding yourself back.

The most effective employees are volunteers. They volunteer responsibility and accountability before it’s delegated to them. They volunteer to mentor a new employee, help a colleague with a project, research a new product or service, etc. Sure, they will often do things their boss or manager asks them to do. But they also look for opportunities to help even when they’re not asked.

Do you have other tips you’d like to share? What has helped you to work better and smarter?

image credit: cayusa