10 Tips for Ex­celling at Work

Refuse to be medi­ocre!

Activated - - FRONT PAGE - By Tina Kapp

We build our work with our at­ti­tudes and ac­tions day by day. Here are some thoughts to keep in mind if we want to ex­cel in our jobs.

1 Vol­un­teer.

In the old folk tale of the Lit­tle Red Hen, she wanted to bake a loaf of bread, so she asked the an­i­mals in the barn­yard to help her gather the wheat, but ev­ery­one was sud­denly too busy and un­avail­able, so she did it her­self. Later, she asked who would help her grind the wheat into flour, but ev­ery­one was too busy. Then she asked who could help her sift the flour and mix the in­gre­di­ents; again, ev­ery­one was too busy to help. Af­ter re­quest­ing help sev­eral times, she ended up do­ing all the work her­self. As a re­sult, though, the an­i­mals missed out on the re­ward of en­joy­ing the loaf.

Let’s not be like them. If your boss and co­work­ers know you can be counted on to take the ex­tra step when the need arises, they’ll come to de­pend on your re­li­a­bil­ity and will­ing­ness to get things done. Show­ing ini­tia­tive leads to in­creased trust, re­wards, and re­spon­si­bil­ity.

In the Bi­ble, David vol­un­teered to fight the giant Go­liath, which saved the day and gained him fa­vor with King Saul. An­other ex­am­ple is Isa­iah vol­un­teer­ing to be a mes­sen­ger for God by say­ing, “Here am I. Send me!” 1

2 Get the de­tails right.

At­ten­tion to de­tail says a lot about a per­son. If you can’t be both­ered to spell a word (or a name) cor­rectly or get your facts right, those around you will as­sume you can’t be both­ered to get other things right

ei­ther. Je­sus said: “Who­ever can be trusted with very lit­tle can also be trusted with much.”

2 If you go into a bath­room in a res­tau­rant and it’s dirty, it might make you worry that the kitchen is also dirty, and you may de­cide to eat some­where else in­stead. Even if it just hap­pened to be a sloppy job that one day, it can still have a bad ef­fect on the busi­ness’ rep­u­ta­tion.

Re­gard­less of the task, per­sonal at­ten­tion to de­tail shows that peo­ple can rely on you to get things done cor­rectly and that you’ll go the ex­tra mile to do it right.

The book of Proverbs says, “Lazy peo­ple are soon poor; hard work­ers get rich.” 3

3 Avoid gossip.

Paul warned the Ephesians, “Do not let any un­whole­some talk come out of your mouths, but only what is help­ful for build­ing oth­ers up ac­cord­ing to their needs, that it may ben­e­fit those who lis­ten.”

4 Gos­sip­ing may seem in­no­cent, but words have a way of com­ing back to bite you. If you wouldn’t say some­thing to some­one’s face, it’s prob­a­bly not a good idea to say it to oth­ers. The classical Greek philoso­pher Socrates, cred­ited as one of the founders of Western phi­los­o­phy, re­port­edly said: “Great minds dis­cuss ideas, av­er­age minds dis­cuss events, and small minds dis­cuss peo­ple.”

4 Be re­li­able.

Your boss is count­ing on you, and un­less you’re ac­tu­ally sick, play­ing hooky to skip out on work will let him and your co­work­ers down. You might get away with pre­tend­ing to be sick to get off work, but peo­ple will come to see you as some­one who of­ten drops the ball, leav­ing them to pick up the pieces.

Paul said to the Thes­sa­lo­ni­ans, “We hear that some among you are idle and dis­rup­tive. They are not busy; they are busy­bod­ies. Such peo­ple we com­mand and urge … to settle down and earn the food they eat.” Ac­cord­ing to one ref­er­ence, the 5 orig­i­nal Greek trans­la­tion of “dis­rup­tive” meant play­ing hooky.

5 Never do noth­ing.

Rather than wast­ing time when you’ve fin­ished your task, take a look around at what else needs to be done.

Jer­oboam in the Bi­ble was a shin­ing ex­am­ple of this. When King Solomon saw how well the young man did his work, he put him in charge of the whole la­bor force of the house of Joseph. You can bet that 6 didn’t come from him sit­ting around and slack­ing off ev­ery chance he got.

6 Be nice.

This is a huge topic, and some as­pects may seem ob­vi­ous, but it cov­ers ev­ery­thing

from hav­ing good man­ners to be­ing po­lite to the jan­i­tor or that slightly an­noy­ing co­worker. The way you treat oth­ers will af­fect the way peo­ple see you. Peo­ple who are po­lite and easy to work with end up with more ref­er­ences, con­tacts, and friends.

It also ma­jorly im­pacts your abil­ity to do busi­ness. Dale Carnegie’s book How to Win Friends and In­flu­ence Peo­ple ex­plains how kind­ness and show­ing gen­uine in­ter­est in oth­ers have of­ten been the keys to busi­ness suc­cess. His book has a great col­lec­tion of sto­ries about suc­cess­ful peo­ple who were in­ter­ested in oth­ers and used kind­ness in busi­ness.

One of my fa­vorites is about a busi­ness­man named Mr. Du­ver­noy, who wanted to be the bread sup­plier to a cer­tain New York ho­tel. He tried to get an ap­point­ment to present his prod­ucts to the man­ager ev­ery week for years, but was un­suc­cess­ful even with that.

Af­ter learn­ing about pos­i­tive hu­man re­la­tions, he de­cided to put them to the test. He found out that the man­ager was part of the Ho­tel Greeters of Amer­ica So­ci­ety and was so pas­sion­ate about it that he at­tended ev­ery con­ven­tion and event and even ran for its pres­i­dency.

The next time Mr. Du­ver­noy met the ho­tel man­ager, he brought up this so­ci­ety. The man­ager, who ob­vi­ously loved the sub­ject, spent half an hour talk­ing about it. “In the mean­time, I had said noth­ing about bread,” re­called Mr. Du­ver­noy. “But a few days later, the stew­ard of his ho­tel phoned me to come over with sam­ples and prices. ‘I don’t know what you did to the old boy,’ the stew­ard greeted me, ‘but he sure is sold on you!’”

Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by be­com­ing in­ter­ested in other peo­ple than you can in two years by try­ing to get other peo­ple in­ter­ested in you.”

7 Ask for feed­back.

In an ar­ti­cle I read, there was a sug­ges­tion to check in with your boss or team ev­ery so of­ten about how you’re do­ing and ask how you could im­prove. This shows you’re fo­cused and take your work se­ri­ously.

If the apos­tle Paul were writ­ing to­day, he would prob­a­bly say some­thing like, “Em­ploy­ees, obey your earthly bosses with re­spect and with sin­cer­ity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.” The way you

7 con­duct your­self, your in­ter­ac­tions with co­work­ers and your boss, says a lot about you as a per­son and af­fects your ex­am­ple as a Chris­tian.

King David of the Bi­ble was al­ways pray­ing about ways he could im­prove. In Psalms he says, “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me.”

8 Moses also checked in with God reg­u­larly: “If you are pleased with

me, teach me your ways so I may know you and con­tinue to find fa­vor with you.” 9

8 Don’t rush into of­fice ro­mances.

This is not a hard-and-fast rule—al­though dif­fer­ent com­pa­nies have their own poli­cies, so it’s im­por­tant to know and fol­low them—but ex­perts of­ten rec­om­mend keep­ing ro­mance away from the work­place.

Re­la­tion­ships and friend­ships are won­der­ful, but al­ways keep your goals in mind, and don’t let other things dis­tract you.

9 Look pro­fes­sional.

How you look and dress re­flects ei­ther well or poorly on the com­pany you work for or the ser­vice you per­form. Some jobs have a dress code; if yours doesn’t, take cues from re­spected in­di­vid­u­als at your work. Imag­ine get­ting stuck in the el­e­va­tor with the com­pany’s CEO, and dress for that pos­si­bil­ity ev­ery sin­gle day. This is even more im­por­tant when at a job in­ter­view, as first im­pres­sions are so im­por­tant.

While the Bi­ble is clear that God is more in­ter­ested in what is in our hearts, it also cau­tions us that “peo­ple judge oth­ers by what they look like.” Make sure your

10 ap­pear­ance serves you well and shows re­spect for the po­si­tion you have or want.

10 Show ap­pre­ci­a­tion.

If some­one does their job well, say so. If some­one helps you out, thank them. Say­ing nice things about oth­ers be­hind their back is also a won­der­ful thing to do, be­cause if it gets back to the per­son, it of­ten means more than the nice things you could say di­rectly to them.

With the fast pace of to­day’s world, it’s easy to for­get the value of a few sim­ple words. Just tak­ing a few min­utes to ac­knowl­edge those you work with and their con­tri­bu­tions will go a long way in mak­ing them feel ap­pre­ci­ated.

Dale Carnegie wrote: “You don’t have to wait … be­fore you use this phi­los­o­phy of ap­pre­ci­a­tion. You can work magic with it al­most ev­ery day.”

Mak­ing your col­leagues feel ap­pre­ci­ated and im­por­tant is the key to suc­cess and ev­ery­one work­ing to­gether hap­pily. It may seem to be a small thing, but it gets big re­sults.

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