You are here: ninemsn > Money > Career

How to be successful in the workplace

Wednesday, September 17, 2008
How to be successful in the workplace
Related articles

By MSN NZ Money staff

We've long been confronted with images of smartly-dressed executives — stepping on each others' fingers to get to the top of the corporate ladder — representing success in the workplace. The real situation couldn't be more different.

Just as there are people in the workplace who aspire to leadership and management positions, there are those who love doing what they do best and want to love coming to the workplace just as much. The workplace is filled with a myriad of people from different walks of life and different motivations and aspirations.

So if you were to think about a successful career as having a series of jobs that fulfilled you, in workplaces you contributed to, working with great people — what then becomes the key to success?

Here are some winning skills and attitudes you can't do without:

1. Keep an open mind. Give yourself room to be open and accepting of new ideas and concepts. Things are changing faster than ever today and if you let yourself get set in your ways too quickly, you'll miss out on the fun and innovation.

2. Own your role. Imagine running your own business and performing the same job you have now. Would you be more flexible, adaptable, or even more resourceful if you were accountable to yourself? Any skills you don't use, you lose; so don't sell yourself short.

3. Pick up new skills. If Apple founder, Steve Jobs hadn't taken a random calligraphy class when he was a student, we may not have those aesthetically-pleasing iPhones — and wouldn't that be a shame?

4. Be organised. Nobody likes to be micromanaged, just as nobody enjoys being a micromanager. Take charge of your calendar, how you spend your time and organise your day. You'll feel better for it.

5. Speak up. Many people make the mistake of expecting others to read their minds. Nobody can read your mind, so spill.

6. There's no 'I' in 'team'. The fastest way to gel with your colleagues is to leave your ego and hesitations at the door. Immerse yourself completely in any group project and focus on being the best you can be for the greater good of achieving a common goal.

7. Get friendly. Take the time to get to know the broader circle of people you work with. It can't hurt right? From a day-to-day point of view it'll make doing jobs for other people more enjoyable when you know your contribution is appreciated.

8. Work-life balance. Everyone has different things they like to do to blow off some steam so make it a point to do something spontaneous at least once a week. Living a more varied and balanced lifestyle can only reflect positively when you're back in the workplace.

9. Respect. Nobody is asking anyone to suck up to anyone else, just don't be rude. Good manners are a lot less about how you hold your knife and fork and more about how you treat others. Showing others respect reflects integrity of character.

10. Sincerity. Sincerity is a powerful force and people can sense when it's not there. So if you feel your attitude towards work lacks a spark, find out why and how you can revive it.

User comments
Till December 2010, I have worked in a software company for 4 months. However, I am not really confident to involve with my colleagues. Thus, what are the reasons behind this thing? Or can I have any suggestions from you to build up my capacity?
I had a manager who asked me to sell computers for her husband. Her husband apparently worked in an IT company, and he got the computers for free and he sold them for a hundred something dollars each. I found it very tricky to handle this situation. No one I know would buy an old desktop while most of them have flash laptops. I had to be honest with her unless I bought one myself to please her! She also asked me to buy lunch for her ( she gave me the money), and this happened quite often. I can list quite a few examples like these in that job. I ended up leaving the job, but I'm still not sure how to handle it when you have a manager like that, just in case I may come across a manager like that again.
Reading what is required of people who are looking for a job is sad. For those at the top has it ever accured to you that you are all fake. Is it because you want to impress your boss that you are doing such a fantastic fake look- a-like. Judge people for who they are their skills, not their qualifications. People in collar & tie they suck, they get drunk swear & don't care because & the end of the day they still have a job. WAKIE, WAKIE it's no wonder people scab of others and I don't blame them. It's time they changed the system. ACCEPT PEOPLE FOR WHO THEY ARE. NEVER JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER.
i am responsible for training at my work i need to pick up more skills to enlarge my knowledge, like ideas to make people learn things in a short period of time.