From physics labs to open software engineering-focused office spaces, the setting and skills required from each place I’ve worked have varied. I’ve enjoyed acquiring the flexibility to thrive in different work environments, and as I reflect, I find myself thinking about the common threads that tie together a great workplace.
Even though every job comes with its own list of specifications, there are a number of common qualities that can enhance workplace productivity regardless of what you do.
1. Timeliness. Even if your workplace doesn’t monitor the exact time you arrive every morning, it is important to show commitment to your own standard of punctuality. Honoring deadlines, whether they’re set by your boss or by your own personal timeline, shows a commitment to putting out quality work with respect to all parties involved with processing it. This skill also encompasses time management because meeting deadlines requires thoughtful planning. When you’re tasked with multiple projects, balancing them all efficiently necessitates preparation catalyzed by a watch on the clock.
2. Consistent effort. Discipline is the art of training yourself to do something by controlling your behavior, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary. Training yourself to work efficiently is only worthwhile if you do so consistently. Make decisions that lead to peak performance, including blocking out behaviors that might be counterproductive. If you know you get distracted browsing the web, install a website blocker extension or a time tracker tool on Chrome or another web browser. The most notable finished products result from a consistent effort, so build a habit of delivering something worthwhile to your team every day.
3. Attitude. There’s a limit to how productive you can be if your heart isn’t in the work. Passion about what you do can fuel the most ambitious endeavors, while lack of genuine interest can limit the extent of even the smallest of projects. Your work life can also be enhanced by friendly relationships with colleagues. Even if you aren’t in the most thrilling position or the most positive work environment, you can be the change you wish to see by changing your attitude toward your situation. It’s easier said than done, but it’s worth trying.
4. Embracing failure. In an ideal world, everything we do would be perfect 100 percent of the time. That wouldn’t really make for an interesting world though. Gabrielle Wonnell states that “it may be counterintuitive, but comfort with failure drives success. That’s because some of the most innovative ideas that a team comes up with won’t work. However, if a team doesn’t feel free to try those new ideas, they won’t be able to figure out which ones will actually work. Fear of failure is a barrier to creating change and improving processes.” If you fail, fail quickly and keep moving. Even if you get only one percent better every day, as per the GovLoop motto, you’ll still be better than you were yesterday.
5. Effective conflict resolution. Conflicts are natural, though reaching a resolution might not be. The focus here should be on a rational discussion that leads to a solution, not on proving someone else wrong. When the angle becomes more constructive, solutions can actually be built up out of a conflict instead of relationships being torn down.
6. Communication skills. Communicating properly can facilitate the creation of a thriving work environment, one that you actually want to contribute to. Communicating isn’t just about talking and making your voice heard, although that is important. It’s also about listening intently to others and actually hearing what they’re trying to say. You can build someone up with a word, you can tear them down just as easily. Communication is also key on collaborative projects, regardless of whether you’re a moving part or a facilitator of the piece as a whole.
7. Embracing leadership. As GovLoop featured contributor Paul Negron states, “leadership skills can be exhibited no matter what position you have in a team.” You don’t have to know everything or be in a leadership position to share an idea for a new project at a meeting or share your knowledge with someone new. Viewing leadership as telling people what to do distills the quality and renders it ineffective. True leadership is rooted in empowering your team or your colleagues to reach their full potential, and it is partly borne out of a desire to serve other people. Even if you aren’t a loud person by nature, you can be a leader through observation and thoughtful insight, and still be a valuable addition to your team.
Are there any factors that you’ve found to be key in your workplace success? Let us know in the comments below.