Win Today with Christopher Cook

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How to Immediately Increase Your Value at Work

It's no secret that most of us have the desire for more influence, more responsibility, more appreciation, and if we're honest, how to get a raise in our current job. I know I do…in a big way. None of those aspirations are unreasonable, and the best employers are typically eager to create a culture in which those rewards are both known and attainable. But understanding that the fulfillment of that aspiration doesn’t rest solely upon our employers and leaders is a critical perspective we must embrace.

It’s no secret that most of us have the desire for more influence, more responsibility, more appreciation, and if we’re honest, knowledge on how to get a raise in our current job. None of those aspirations are unreasonable, and the best employers are typically eager to create a culture in which those rewards are both known and attainable. But understanding that the fulfillment of that aspiration doesn’t rest solely upon our employers and leaders is a critical perspective we must embrace.

Central to this point is a hot word in our culture today: empowerment. And usually, the associated question is “who is going to empower me?”

Empowerment Starts with Me

While that is a very legitimate question for any eager and growing team member, I’ve been challenged in my thinking lately to realize that I have the ability to not only receive empowerment but empower upwards to my leaders, laterally to my peers, and downwards to people I oversee.

Most obvious of course is the empowerment of those above us, for they turn the key to our promotion and advancement. So as it pertains to empowering “upward,” live with the personal initiative to help your leader stay focused on the big picture by covering the details that allow him or her to not have to micromanage day-to-day tasks but instead, allow him or her to think strategically about the long-range trajectory of the team.

In doing so, you’ll be empowered to have room in which to work without necessitating micromanagement from above.

9 Methods to Immediately Increase Your Value at Work

Anyone who reads my blog, has heard me speak, or knows me personally understands that my greatest passion in life—perhaps my personal mission—is to help people just like you rise above average, recover from disappointment and loss, and get the clarity and courage you need to win today in your everyday life, which certainly includes your career.

While they aren’t magic, I believe that the following nine keys—when adopted into your value system and implemented in your daily life—will immediately increase your value at work.

  1. Commit to be led by vision and organizational health. Great leaders must cast practical vision for their teams. In fact, one ancient Proverb stands firm in stating “When people do not accept guidance, they run wild.” Well-communicated vision creates healthy boundaries in which we’ll stay on target and flourish like a well-trained race horse. If you’re unsure of your team’s vision, ask! How do you know what to do if you don’t know why you’re doing it or where you’re going?

Accompanying vision is organizational health, which is critical for your company’s success. Practically-speaking, are you a gossip? Do you create strife? Are you a complainer? Are you a team player? Spreading the cancer of discord in the office has toxic effects that will shutdown your team’s morale and ultimately its output.

However, organizational health doesn’t require that everyone agrees about everything. A healthy office culture does allow for a difference of opinion. But it mustn’t cause disunity within your team. As an example, one of my leaders once said, “Chris, one of the things I respect about you is that though you’re very passionate about an idea, if that idea gets overridden, in the end, you go with the flow and get on board with the decision.” Disagree in development, but when a decision is made in private, get on-board and be a team player in public.

  1. Commit to lead “up, across, and down.” Just because you may not have the title of leader doesn’t mean you can’t influence those all around you. Remember that true leadership has little to do with title or position anyway and everything to do with the ability to influence and add value to others which, assuming you’re not in a dictatorial, one-way system, can be done from any position in your organization.
  1. Commit to not be led by popular opinions. Instead, be led by integrity. If you hear an unsubstantiated rumbling in the office, file it. Until you hear confirmation from two or three people, keep your mouth shut, and process the information in an appropriate manner if necessary with your leader or HR. Point being, don’t fan the flames of nonsense. Do what’s right. Often, what you don’t say speaks more about your character than what you do say.
  1. Commit to have self-respect and healthy professional boundaries. Unity is not uniformity, nor does it mean that you’re a doormat for emotional or verbal dumping. See yourself as a valuable contributor and don’t accept manipulative, passive-aggressive, non-communicative character-assaulting behavior from anyone…including your boss.
  1. Commit to show-up. And show-up. And show-up. For years, I’ve told my teams, “Consistency is the key to every victory.” To boot, I’ve seen that principle work in several areas of my life. Do what you say you’re going to do. Beat deadlines. Under-promise and over-deliver. “Wow” your leader and team members to the best of your ability. You see, there’s another aspect of on-the-job value, and it hinges upon your ability to execute consistently upon that which you’ve been tasked (not always what you want to do, but what needs to be done).
  1. Commit to be punctual. Your daily start time isn’t a “get there” time (at least that’s my personal conviction). At a young age, my parents taught me “if you’re on time, you’re late.” I start work at 9:00AM most days. As such, I arrive to the office no later than 8:40AM daily. Doing so allows me to get setup, review my tasks, and start with a clear, creative, mind that isn’t rushed, but present and ready to be productive.
  1. Commit to bring your A-game. Have the mindset of an entrepreneur even though you’re employed by someone else. Your employer has hired you to perform a service. Treat them as a valuable client. Maximize your skill set. Increase your marketability. Will you invest in yourself to grow your talents and bring your best, both in attitude and performance, in order to deliver consistent results?
  1. Commit to eliminate the phrase “it can’t be done.” Recently, I was tasked with a project that I was very comfortable accomplishing, except for the fact that for several reasons outside my control or liking, I needed to use a tool and platform I am completely unfamiliar with (and one that isn’t even designed for the task at-hand). As a result, finishing the project has required nearly twice the time and creative energy normally budgeted and came loaded with several learning curve hiccups along the way. Was I initially frustrated? I’ll answer the question this way: Is water wet? Despite that, I buckled-down, watched some YouTube tutorials, read articles, looked at user forums, vented appropriately for about five minutes, asked good questions, and am presently nearing the finish line with smiles from the client! The moral of the story is that there is always a solution if you’ll commit to seeking one out. It may not be easy, convenient, or even efficient in your estimation, but be bigger on the inside and deliver excellent results.
  1. Commit to take care of your physical and emotional health. If you arrive to work tired, stressed, with low energy, and little motivation, that isn’t fair to you or your employer. Eat well. Rest well. Play well. Laugh well. When you do, everyone wins.

By implementing these nine keys into your professional life, what will they lead to? Exactly what you’re after: more influence, more responsibility, greater trust from your leaders and peers, and…greater income potential.

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