If you have future dreams that include promotions, money or newfound skills, there is one tip that every employee needs to know!
I. Accolades Aren’t Enough
Congratulations on your free rides, your x-number of degrees, and your certificates of excellence. While in no way do I intend to diminish your hard-earned accolades, I do want to offer another perspective. It is a critical tip that every employee needs to know.
You might think that you have earned your keep, and in some ways you certainly have. After all, we generally live in a meritocratic society. This means we have been conditioned to believe that performance is automatically commiserate with reward.
The part many of us forget is that the working world is far more complex and dynamic than we realize; see Post #60, A Complex Work Obstacle: Dealing with People. It is unrealistic to expect that a simple meritocratic concept will always apply.
There exist myriad factors that influence the world of work, such as:
- employees’ individual health status
- family life
- investor concerns and desires
- politics, both internal to the company as well as external
- external events happening in the world
- new laws vs. old laws
While not all-inclusive, this is a decent starter-list of the things (mostly outside of your control) that influence the working environment. While accolades are great to have, the items listed above (and many more) create a mysterious and tricky workplace to navigate.
So much so that your accolades may eventually fall to the wayside.
II. Don’t Ignore the Gray
There is a saying that goes something like, “You can be the smartest engineer in the world, but it’s no good if you cannot communicate your results.” While it’s a great tip every employee needs to know, we can take this a step further.
Your work can be outstanding, helpful, and well-communicated to a group of people. But you could also be a person who is rude, dismissive, or who publicly pouts if you don’t get your way. Or maybe you do well in a group setting but not on an individual basis.
No employee is the perfect person to work for or to work with, that’s a fact. However, some people understand that emotional flexibility, adaptability, and the ability to maneuver a spectrum of personalities is as empowering as any accolade.
Whereas other people choose to hold onto grudges or bring down their teammates if they don’t get what they want.
There is gray area in the workplace that can go unnoticed. A gray area that some management won’t admit to or address: that the workplace is most productive when people can set aside egos and learn how to work together.
III. The Missing Piece
We have established that:
- accolades and awards are great
- we generally live and work in a meritocratic society
- the workplace is too complex to apply an absolute meritocratic approach all the time
- part of the formula to a successful workplace includes people who learn how to work together to get the job done
You can see where this is going… accolades are not enough!
What every employee needs to know is that work is only partially about work stuff. It’s partially about your education, your knowledge, your output, etc.
The missing piece is that work requires you to deal with people. That includes hearing others’ words whether you like them personally or not. It means compromise, keeping your ego in check, being the bigger person, among other things.
You do not, in general, get to pick and choose your colleagues, management, or customers. But you do get to choose one of the most important factors that can make or break your career: the way you deal with them.
Sure, work is about setting goals, meeting objectives and learning along the way. But a great tip every employee needs to know: stagnation abounds until you learn how to maneuver the dynamics of human nature.
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