SumTotal Blog

Leader of the Pack — Become Employee of the Year in 5 Steps

November 14, 2014



Today’s workforce is increasingly competitive and everyone is looking to stand out in the crowd and demonstrate leadership. Here are some words of wisdom I’ve heard throughout my career that are core essentials to ensuring your colleagues, clients, and manager always see you at your best.

Step 1: When you pose a problem, pose a solution. You will gain a reputation as a problem solver, not a complainer. Not only will this earn you serious respect around the office, but your opinion will continue to grow in value. Always support your proposed solutions with facts to prove it is the best way to resolve the problem.

Red converse sneakers stand out from a crowd of white keds

Step 2: Show up early. Many top CEOs are early risers and start their day with a gym routine or by jumping immediately into emails.  A recent study shows that bosses tend to have a positive bias toward employees who have an earlier day, even if their performance is identical to those who start later. This doesn’t mean you need to work longer days – if your office offers flextime you should maintain a regular schedule, just shift everything an hour or two earlier (i.e. instead of working 9am-6pm, try 7am-4pm). Extra bonuses: Beat traffic, experience a quiet office in the morning, and have more of the afternoon take on personal tasks.

Step 3: Communicate fair expectations. Everyone has limits. With all the impending deadlines and projects, you need to be realistic about what you can accomplish and when. It is important to share this information with your peers and superiors as well. When you provide realistic expectations, and then meet those expectations, you will become known for always delivering and being a man or woman of your word. That is far better than setting an aggressive deadline to please your manager, or saying that you can take on a task when in reality you have no time, and then not delivering. It’s hard to tell your boss or coworkers “no” to taking on an additional assignment, but if done right you’ll maintain their respect and set a precedent that the work you take on will be completed on time and with great quality.

Step 4: Dress to impress. We’ve all heard this a million times. “Dress for your boss’ job.” Well, go above and beyond and dress to be your boss’ boss. People are naturally visual creatures and the way you dress and hold yourself in any professional encounter shows people you mean business. If you received a top notch investment strategy from a person dressed to the nines and another in their gym clothes – which would you trust with your business portfolio?

Step 5: Listen to everyone. Read that very carefully. Don’t necessarily do what everyone tells you to do, but listen to what everyone says. Every person from CEO to line worker has an opinion and a reason for it. This is all valuable information that can help you make the best decisions that ultimately will be best for the company. All of this information provides you with knowledge to do your job better and pose great solutions (See Step 1). You can’t please everyone, but wise professionals (like yourself!) work in the best interest of the organization as a whole, not for the happiness of every individual.

Incorporate these ideas into your worklife and you will “wow” your supervisor and colleagues. Be prepared for a brighter employee review at the end of the year.

 

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