Career Advice

How to kick ass at work without hurting your colleagues

In the workplace, we all want to make a difference, achieve great results, get recognized and shine. In short, we want to kick ass. While this aspiration is admirable it’s important for us to ensure we aren’t hurting our colleagues along the way.

Early on in my career I was determined to get noticed and get to “the top” as fast as I could. My strategy was simple; work hard, involve myself in the right projects and impress the right people. My approach worked and within a few short years I found myself in a leadership role.

But once I was in my new role I realized I had unintentionally bruised and injured quite a few people while on my journey.

Reflecting back on my strategy building trust, inspiring commitment and fostering strong partnerships should have been a part of my plan and they weren’t. At times, I let my ego and personal goals get the best of me which lead to others feeling as though I didn’t value their ideas, contributions and feelings.

To ensure you don’t hurt anyone while kicking ass like I did here are a few easy to implement tips.

Remember, you never fight alone

Start using “we” instead of “I” statements. We complete tasks, projects and goals through teamwork. Somehow, some way there is always a “we” associated with whatever “you” did and it’s important not to forget this. By using “we” instead of “I” it lets others know you appreciate their help regardless of how big or small their contributions are. Doesn’t, “we met our project timeline” sound much more collaborative than “I met the project timeline?”

Don’t fight people to get to the top—bring them with you instead

Withholding information, help and kudos from your “competition” may seem like a good tactic, but it isn’t. The days of knowledge hoarding are gone. It used to be that a person’s worth to an organization was measured by how much they knew, but now it is measured by how much they share.

Now more than ever companies are focusing on improving their idea generation, communication flow, and internal culture. They want people who can wear multiple hats, work effectively with anyone and better the working environment.

Knowing this, instead of looking at other talented individuals as a threat, start looking at them and working with them as an ally. You will be surprised at how much faster you climb to the top when you are surrounded with high potentials like yourself. Renowned businessman Jim Rohn once said, “You’re the average of the five people you spend most of your time with.”

Remember what you are fighting for

While getting recognized may be one of your underlying goals, it should not be your top priority. Take the time to understand your work responsibilities, goals, deliverables, and the needs of others. Then focus really hard on meeting and/or exceeding them.

Personal desires can easily influence the way you behave. Be mindful of this and do everything you can to not bring your personal agenda to the table. This will allow you to be open-minded and collaborative which will set you up for more opportunities to be recognized.

Danielle Clark is a higher education leader, educator, career coach and HR consultant. She has a strong and diverse professional background working with higher education institutes and family-owned and Fortune 500 companies. Her goal is to educate and inspire professionals to change their way of thinking. Danielle is also an active community volunteer, wife, mother and passionate lifelong learner.

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