Everyone knows that employers don’t appreciate disgruntled, whiny employees, right? But does the average person know how the organization does want them to behave? Should one suck up, agree with everything, or leave all the decisions to others? Here are a few thoughts on the subject.
One of the most important skills employers look for is the ability to problem solve. Knowing how to approach a problem—any problem—is a talent management values. If an employee is able to take a personal reaction out of a messy situation and instead define, investigate, and resolve an issue with a level head, their manager will notice and reward them for the approach.
Showing your trustworthiness is always a good idea. Saying what you mean and meaning what you say as well as doing what you’ve said you’re going to do will earn you high marks with management. Under- or over-stating your abilities, the available resources, or the team’s capacity will get you into trouble. Instead, tell it like it is when it comes to making commitments based on skill and resources and your boss will know that she can trust what you say in other areas as well.
Believe it or not, employers actually value opinions. What matters to the boss, though, is in how that opinion is delivered. Pointing out everything that’s wrong without providing solutions (notice there’s an “s” on the end of solution) isn’t what he’s looking for. He wants to see that your opinion considers the bigger picture and demonstrates a desire to make positive changes within the confines of available resources.
And, finally, attitude is everything. Employers have enough to think about without having to deal with sad saps and complainers. Coming in every day with the best of intentions and demonstrating that you’re happy to be there gets you noticed. It’s not unusual for a lesser qualified person to be promoted over a peer with a great resume simply based on attitude. Show that you’re up for any job by smiling, graciously accepting performance critiques, and demonstrating a willingness to learn more about not only the tasks at hand but those beyond your current responsibilities.
Vivian Scott is a Professional Certified Mediator and the author of Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies. She spent many years in the competitive and often stress-filled world of high tech marketing where she realized resolving conflict within the confines of office politics was paramount to success. Through creative solutions to common conflicts she was able to bring various entities together, both internally and externally, for the betterment of projects and a productive working environment.
Prior to retiring from Microsoft in 1999 she developed the “America at Work” video series, a six-part program featuring small businesses employing technology in attention-grabbing ways. “America at Work” aired on the USA Network and received the Silver Screen Award from the International Film and Video Festival for outstanding creativity. Using discerning negotiation, mediation, and problem-solving skills, she successfully worked with others to co-create “How-to Guides”, “Seminar in a Box”, and even one of the first on-line Guerrilla Marketing books.
Since her retirement, Ms. Scott has gone on to earn a B.A. in Interdisciplinary Arts & Sciences with a concentration in American Studies from the University of Washington. She completed an extensive practicum with the Dispute Resolution Center of Snohomish & Island Counties where she has mediated numerous cases, helping parties resolve conflict in workplace, family, and other disputes. Her private mediation practice has handled cases ranging from assisting business partners in ending their relationship to creating a new working environment within a law firm. Ms. Scott is a member of the Washington Mediation Association and spends a majority of her time advocating embracing peace in a volatile world.
Her book, Conflict Resolution at Work For Dummies, can be found in bookstores, on www.amazon.com, www.dummies.com, or any number of on-line bookseller sites.