Finishing a task once takes physical and mental skill. But if your goal is to repeat that task and other related ones on a daily basis, attitude is everything.
Not all kinds of attitude will be helpful for building a career. Just as there are certain ways of looking at work that will take you further, there are others that might initiate a downward spiral of failure and career dissatisfaction.
That’s what we’re here for today: to help identify some key attitudes that will propel your career in the direction you want, and to point out some attitudes that you should avoid like the plague.
HAVE: A hunger for learning
Learning & development is a cornerstone of career growth. Through it, we stay sharp and able to excel in fulfilling our professional roles.
This is especially important, since the demands of the 21st-century workplace grow not only in terms of volume, but also in terms of depth and cutting edge skill requirements. Professionals, therefore, are challenged to not only learn more skills or master existing ones, but also to ensure that said skills are in step with what we have today.
Appreciate the value of continued learning as a professional. You unnecessarily limit your growth the moment you believe you’re learned everything you need.
DISCARD: Any sense of entitlement
To clarify, it is detrimental to anyone’s career to feel entitled without firmly grasping their value as a professional.
There’s nothing wrong with bargaining for more with your employer, but ask yourself first: “Am I enough of an asset to the organization to justify my pursuit of better compensation or a higher position?”
If you can honestly answer this question with a resounding YES, then that’s not an unfounded sense of entitlement. Otherwise, try growing in your role first.
HAVE: An openness to making connections
It’s virtually impossible to be in a professional environment where you’re totally on your own. Wherever you go in your career, you’ll be working with others. Why not make the effort to connect with people who can become your allies?
This applies just as much to your competitors as it does to your current colleagues. It’s okay to be competitive, but remember that your counterparts from other organizations are also professionals trying to build their careers. And there just might be room for you to work together, whether today or in the future.
Build bridges, instead of tearing them down. Anyone you meet is a potential addition to your network.
DISCARD: Any tendency to procrastinate
Nothing kills momentum more than procrastination. When you’re already on the move and you suddenly drop what you’re doing without good reason, the greatest difficulty lies in continuing from where you stopped.
Avoid that hurdle and keep working at a consistent pace, until you either accomplish your goal or are required to take a momentary pause and let developments occur naturally.
Learn to distinguish when a break when is needed, and when pushing ahead matters most.
HAVE: An appreciation for proper timing
Taking the initiative is not always the career-boosting strategy everyone believes it is. Sometimes making the first move can actually lead to disastrous results, especially when you’re working without adequate information about an opportunity.
Much better to develop is a well-honed sense for the best chance to take action. Learn to recognize when early action is beneficial, and when a delayed response is better suited to the situation.
This can actually help you save time, effort, and resources that might have been wasted on an opportunity that you seized too eagerly.
DISCARD: Any hesitance to look at things differently
Given how dynamic and multi-faceted any business interaction, excessive reliance on standard procedure is a severely limiting habit.
You always get a different picture from each angle, and you always notice different things when thinking inside and outside the box.
Free yourself from being a slave to protocol, especially when repeating said protocol yields sub-optimal results. Exercise your observational, analytical, and critical agility in order to find new ways of effectively handling any situation.