Friday, January 22, 2010

10 Ways to Improve Your Job Performance

1. Prioritize your “to-do” list. Yup, you have a million things to do and a hundred clients to please and at least one difficult boss to placate, and everybody’s screaming “Give me attention now!!” To improve your job performance, prioritize your tasks from the most to least important. This doesn’t mean you have to do the most important tasks first; in fact, taking care of the smaller ones, such as filing or watering the plants, can be an excellent way to take a break from your more stressful job responsibilities.

2. Keep the p-word handy. Being positive is a characteristic of a good employee that may seem obvious or boring, but it’s so important. Negativity drains energy, spreads like wildfire, and decreases your job performance. Avoid slandering your coworkers or gossiping about your supervisors. Be slow to criticize your clients, employees, or couriers – whether it’s to their faces or behind their backs.

3. Polish your job skills. If your biggest qualification for your job is that you’ve been doing it for ten years, consider taking a refresher job training course. Adult education classes or night school is a great way to improve your job performance and help you achieve your career goals. Added bonuses: you can network with other professionals, learn great career tips, suss out new job opportunities, and improve your self-confidence at work.

4. Sharpen your networking skills. If you’re planning to stay with your employer, learning how to negotiate a raise, or looking for a new job, keep networking. You’ll learn valuable information, both professionally and personally, if you stay connected to your colleagues and mentors. A characteristic of a good employee is bringing in new business, which is easier to do when you know how to network.

5. Dress appropriately. Take pride in your appearance; if you’re not into the current fashion, ask your partner or a salesperson to make sure you’re well dressed. Even if you’re in an entry level job in the service industry, make sure your hair, face and hands are neat and clean. Leaving the nose rings, lip rings and eyebrow rings at home may not improve your job performance, but it will increase your professional appearance – which will help you achieve your career goals. For info on clothes for career women, read 10 Business Casual Clothing Tips for Women.

6. Get good at the basics. An often overlooked but hugely appreciated characteristic of a good employee is getting to work, meetings, and workshops on time. If you can’t meet your deadlines, ask for support. Be reliable, consistent, and trustworthy. In other words, be the employee you’d be thrilled to glad to hire, supervise, and promote. Read 8 Ways to Keep Your Job for more tips!

7. Find responsibilities that interest & challenge you. To improve your performance at work, ask for tasks that motivate you. If you’re interested in your work, you’re more likely to do a good job – which can lead to more, and more interesting, job opportunities.

8. Assess your accomplishments at work. When was the last time you accomplished something at work that you’re truly proud of? What was that project or task? If you haven’t accomplished anything you’re proud of, then maybe it’s time to go beyond finding responsibilities that challenge you…to considering a whole new career.

9. Find out who’s hiring in your field. It’s important to know what’s going on in your industry. This doesn’t mean you have to “cross over” to another organization. If, for instance, you find out that Business B is hiring New Employee X, and the job description interests you but you don’t want to jump ship at your current job, find out if you can bring those tasks to your current position. A characteristic of a good employee is reevaluating job descriptions to match the industry trends and client needs.

10. Stay healthy. To improve your performance at work, take care of yourself. Get plenty of sleep, eat nutritious food, and exercise regularly. Deal with mental, emotional, or spiritual issues; don’t ignore your problems. Good employees are balanced in most, if not all, areas of their lives.