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Taking the Next Stop Forward - It's Up to You

15 Dec, 2003 By: Ronelle Ingram imageSource

Taking the Next Stop Forward - It's Up to You

Seminars, executive
retreats, books, the Internet, newspapers, magazines, television and trade
journals help guide business owners, officers and senior managers about how to
become more effective in the workplace. Lessons are learned, one on one
networking is encouraged and mentor relationships are formed.

How can
non-managerial employees take the next step toward joining this elite group?
What actions can be taken by sales reps, supervisors, technicians, dispatchers
and administrative staff or warehouse workers to improve their own position
within the company and the community?

The old adage,
"actions speak louder than words" still holds true. To be noticed,
appreciated, acknowledged and ultimately rewarded takes time. Patience,
persistence and tenacity are necessary.

Start your quest for
advancement by having an ongoing work history of reliability. Come to work
everyday, on time. Contribute a full eight hours of work each day. Do more than
what is asked of you. Always answer, "Yes" to any reasonable request
made by a superior or fellow worker. Volunteer for any new project. Become the
"go to" person.

Yes, this will take
extra time and effort. Managers are required to do more on a regular basis.
Dependability is essential and showing up matters. Having a reputation for being
five minutes early rather than always being a few minutes late makes a
difference. This requires that you have a dependable car, money for gas, an
alarm clock that works and an unbending commitment to self-respect.

Leadership can be
acquired without management issuing you a new title on a business card. Fellow
workers will look up to and instinctively follow a person who displays ongoing
leadership qualities. Emotional and intellectual trust is earned one action at a

When a problem
develops at work, be a problem solver, rather than a blame pointer. Keep an open
mind to possible solutions. Rather than complaining about the problem, develop a
strategy of possible solutions. When appropriate, present a written synopsis of
the problem with one or two possible solutions. If an economic expenditure is
part of the solution, present a sample budget explaining how much money will be
required to complete the required changes. Explain the positive monetary
outcome, once the problem is resolved.

If management does
not implement your suggestions, move on. Do not dwell on your unfulfilled
suggestions. Keep an open mind and positive attitude.

Attend company
functions. Always be attentive. Take notes when appropriate. Offer to share the
information with others. Volunteer to be on the planning committee of the
company's open house, company meeting or holiday party.

When you are
attending an off-hour company function, act as if you are still at work. Dress
conservatively for the function and make a point of meeting other employees and
their families. Ask questions about the work they do within your company. Listen
more than you talk. Be cautious with random comments you might say; you never
know whose friend or spouse may overhear an indiscrete comment. If your goal is
to move forward within your company, actively work on always putting your best
foot forward

A bad manager need
not ruin a good employee. If your immediate supervisor does not recognize your
value to the company (or is envious), do not despair. A good employee can rise
above a lackluster superior. Your excellent work habits will standout when
compared to inferior work habits of less inspired employees.

Make a conscious
habit of dressing to the next level of achievement. Continually educate yourself
to the changes within your industry. Keep abreast of trends in the national and
world economic markets. Read appropriate business publications and attend local
business related events.

Put your ideas in
writing. Make suggestions. Prepare a needed form or worksheet. Give one copy to
your manager for his review. Ask if it's OK to pass out the newly created form
to other employees at the next (service) meeting.

It is acceptable
computer etiquette to put a file name at the bottom of your form. Make sure your
name is part of the file name. Soon other workers will be asking you for a copy
of that form. This is a perfect way to quietly advertise your extra effort and
leadership qualities.

Many workers, who
spend a great deal of time in their cars, listen to "books on tape."
This provides entertainment as well as keeping you abreast to current business
trends. Volunteer to organize a lending library of educational and entertaining
tapes for fellow field employees to share. You will help yourself as well as
showing leadership ability to your peers.

When you find an
easier way to do something, take the extra effort to share the knowledge in the
form of a short memo. The use of a digital picture or hand drawn sketch is
useful. Again, give a copy to your manager and ask to share time (cost) saving
tips with the other techs (employees) at the next service or company meeting.

If you have a
service bulletin board or Internet site, post your cost saving tip for all to
see, making sure your name was included in the file name. Eventually other
people, including the owner, in the company will see your extra effort.

Make a positive
statement about yourself for all to see. A clean car, organized tool case or
work area, always being early, clean, ironed clothes, polished shoes, confident
attitude and well-groomed appearance will be noticed.

Often field
technicians do not have the opportunity to interface with other employees from
their company on a regular basis. When you run into one of your sales reps in
the field, (doing a demo) make sure you introduce yourself. Shake hands and say
your name slowly. Offer the sales rep your business card. Thank the salesperson
for increasing the company's customer base. A professional appearance and
attitude is a positive attention getter.

If you do everything
perfectly, it may take two or three years for the appropriate people to see your
leadership characteristics. Even the best of the cream takes time to rise to the
top of an unpasteurized glass of milk. A forward thinking manager realizes the
only way they can be promoted to the next level, is to train or mentor someone
to take their place. A good manager is always looking for those who show the
ability to move up to a more responsible position.

A more productive
employee can eclipse a bad manager. If your immediate supervisor is not a star
performer, their job may be up for serious review. The manager who is afraid to
allow their employees to grow will stagnate, not only their own career but also
the career of others. A good leader will grow to meet the challenges of other
employees pushing the envelope of their mutual growth.

Do not despair if
you follow these steps and are not rewarded with advancement in your company.
You will have prepared yourself for being able to move on to a new company.
Exhibiting leadership characteristics, confidence, sharing new ideas with other
workers and continuing your education will help you in any future endeavor.
Making the effort to improve your job performance will ultimately increase your
talents and grow your career possibilities.

Ingram is a speaker, writer, management consultant and Director of Technical
Service for FKM Copier Products in Irvine, CA. She is well known for being the
senior instructor of BTA's FIX seminar. Ronelle can be contacted at ronellei@msn.com
or 800.854.3337.

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