The [Polar] Express to Workplace Success

Pine tree made of filmstrip with stars on a blue background

So, you’re looking for the fastest track to job success? Maybe you are gathering information to excel in future work, you have your sights set on leadership opportunities, or you simply want to perform well to benefit your organization’s team. Either way, you want on board; you like where this train heads.

Don’t we all! Only problem is we don’t always analyze what we can do to get on board. Let’s do just that.

I assure that I don’t have all the answers, but I’ll bet if I share my suggestions and you share yours, we’ll all be much wiser and more prepared to succeed in the workplace.

  • You must continuously focus on your mental health. The version of you that is well-rested, able to handle frustrations, grateful, and relaxed is the version of you ready to promote in the workforce.

This may sound silly, but bear with me. We are getting a puppy tomorrow, and I have read several books and articles on raising a mentally happy and healthy dog. What we know about dogs is this: an exercised, well-rested pup who has a job to do is a happy pup. There’s no easy formula for a mentally healthy person, but start paying attention to what helps you feel well and know your own “formula”. I need 8 hours of sleep, exercise, time to read, time to enjoy my family, and several social activities a week. Inadequate sleep, forgoing exercise, rushed evenings with my family, or too few or too many social activities, and I’m not feeling my best.

What do you need to feel mentally balanced? Figure that out and prioritize it.

  • Learn how to tackle group projects. Thankfully, school introduces us to working on large, time consuming group projects; however, we don’t always undertake them wisely. Often, we needlessly stress, wait until the last minute, and fail to take advantage of all of our resources.

It’s not too late. You can practice with your next academic group project if you’re still in school, you can plan a home improvement project with your family, you can undertake a volunteer project in your community, or you can take leadership over a work project.

You’ll want to consider how to excite your team with an end goal and share how all will benefit from this success; you’ll want to utilize the strengths of your team; you’ll want to reduce the project into an action plan with dates; you’ll want to reward your team for their hard work and meeting deadlines; you’ll want to acknowledge everyone’s hard work; you’ll want to work hard yourself and be a good example to the team; you’ll want to connect with the group and build relationships with them; and you’ll want to focus on group success.

Yes, this really does need to be practiced! Get creative and pursue a plethora of these leadership opportunities.

  • Increase the lines of communication between you and your supervisor. I don’t mean you need to chat your supervisor’s ear off or be known for sharing TMI (too much information); nope, sometimes less is more. However, put much thought into conversations you can have with your supervisor, conversations that help you see eye-to-eye and benefit the both of you. Here are my recommendations for conversations (and not all at once):

First, I recommend asking questions such as: How can I help you? [Here, you’re trying to reduce your boss’ workload.] What are your quarterly goals? [Now that you know, get on board!] What are your concerns regarding (insert a project or upcoming meeting)? [Do what you can to eliminate his concerns.]

Second, let him or her know what you appreciate about his leadership style.

Third, seek constructive criticism.

Lastly, ask your supervisor for leadership advice. Humbly learn from your supervisor.

A mentally healthy you, with much leadership practice under your belt, and open lines of communication with your supervisor—I think I know where you’re headed!

Resources for Pursuing Workplace Success

Re-Think Leadership: You Already Are a Leader

Maintaining Employment and Advancing in Your Career

Red Lobster’s CEO Talks to CareerConnect Readers About Leadership and Career Success