7 Habits of Highly Effective Employees

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In his #1 bestseller, Stephen R. Covey presented a framework for personal effectiveness through his definition of the 7 habits of highly effective people. His premise centred on our character being a collection of our habits, and habits having a powerful role in our lives. But what about habits in the workplace? Most successful people (the ones who get the promotions, raises and opportunities) have common habits that can be mimicked.

So what is it that makes one person more likely to get promoted than another? For some people, it can seem like others get all the opportunities and promotions handed to them on a silver platter. Are they just lucky or were they simply ‘in the right place at the right time?’ We don’t believe so. There are common themes amongst highly successful individuals and how they deal with their day to day working lives. The good news for everyone else is that these habits are things anyone can do. So what are they?

  1. Think About Your Next Move – constantly thinking about the skills you should be developing in order to succeed in your next role is a good start. It doesn’t mean ignoring your current responsibilities, but try to develop new skills and when you do achieve a promotion, see it as a stepping stone to your next career move. Constantly learn – about your company, the industry, and your general area of expertise. Ask questions and participate in formal learning and professional development opportunities by attending seminars, conferences and training. Successful people think about where their career is headed and what they need to do to get there.
  2. Network – get to know your colleagues and superiors – both within and outside of your company and area of expertise. People who get ahead develop and foster networks throughout their careers. This is especially important if you want to achieve promotion within your own company. It’s pretty hard to achieve that if your boss doesn’t know you are or the value that you offer. Successful people aren’t intimidated to speak up in meetings, offer their opinion or contribute to ideas. Even if you don’t have an original idea, there might be an opportunity to support someone else’s idea or point of view, or ask an insightful question. Be careful not to limit your networks to superiors – successful people need a great team of people around them to succeed, so keep this in mind.
  3. Get Stuff Done – understand what’s important and don’t say yes to everything. Ensure you know exactly what you need to be working on to succeed in your role. Understand that everyone works in different ways – figure out how you work best – do you need to get to the office an hour early to clear your inbox, do you need to ask for help, or schedule a day a week with no meetings? Successful people are results focused and productive – they know what needs to done and how they can best achieve it.
  4. Be Professional – meet deadlines, answer emails, respond to telephone messages, show up on time to the office and to meetings, don’t participate in office gossip, dress well, and interact with others in a consistent and professional way. Successful people always maintain a high level of professionalism.
  5. Take Advantage of Opportunities – put yourself out there and regularly volunteer to take on tasks that may not be part of your job description. Offer to lead a project or train a new team member. Successful people offer themselves for other opportunities. Don’t wait to be asked – just pitch in and get it done.
  6. Be Proactive and Strategic – managers think about what needs to be done and make sure it gets done by engaging and supporting a broader team to achieve results. They also don’t (usually) complain about problems or inefficiencies – they identify the issue and suggest solutions. Being a strategic problem solver shows you understand the ‘big picture’ of the business. Successful people act proactively to ensure things get done and they work as part of (or leading) the team to make sure everybody succeeds.
  7. Blow Your Own Trumpet – even if you do an amazing job, you should keep track of your achievements and successes and communicate them to people that matter. Nobody else will do that for you. Focus on results – it’s not just about how busy you are ticking off your day to day to-do list. Keep an ongoing record of achievements, savings, changes, accolades and recommendations so when the time comes you have it at hand.

There may also be politics involved in who gets promoted so understanding these unofficial rules is often crucial to long term success. Learning how power, communication and influence is managed within your company will help you thrive – and while these words can carry negative connotations – it is not necessarily the case.

Contributed by Belinda Fuller

Belinda Fuller
Agolo Uzorka
the authorAgolo Uzorka

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