10 small changes you need to improve your career


1. Listen

Yes, just take the time to be silent and listen to a team member or client or boss and really understand what they are saying and their point of view. You may or may not agree but always assuming you know it all and have all the right answers is a surefire recipe for career failure. According to the Bayt.com ‘Work Satisfaction in the Middle East and North Africa’ poll, November 2012, 70% of professionals in the Middle East agree that they have open communication channels at their workplace. Remember, active listening is not about dozing off; it is about actively tuning in and hearing all the nuances, undertones and direct or not so direct inflections of a conversation.

2. Think first, speak second

The importance of effective communication skills cannot be emphasized enough. If you know you are the type who blurts out the first thing that comes to mind at every occasion and inevitably find yourself regretting it, now is the time to stop. Ask yourself whether what you are about to say helps to solve a problem or improve a situation or rather comes across as hurtful, immature or redundant and choose your words and tone wisely. Too many clients are lost because of poor communication skills, and loose talk can be very dangerous to an organization as well your personal reputation. When it comes to your clients, become a client magnet with these 10 easy steps.

3. Be more punctual

Chronic lateness and disregard for appointment timings sends a signal of lack of personal discipline and disrespect for self and others. Every professional has a unique body clock but if you know you are aggravating everyone by you permanent lateness this is the time to set the alarm clock an hour earlier and start respecting everyone’s time and priorities. Similarly if you are taking longer lunch breaks, more sick leaves, more holidays, and leaving earlier than everyone else, rest assured this type of behavior is never unnoticed and is very rarely respected or admired. Here are five time management tips that will improve your productivity at work.

4. Organize your day

Visualization helps a lot here both in the day-to-day milestone setting as well as the long-term career planning. Visualize what a successful year will look like and scale back to the vision of a successful month, and then apply this visualization technique on a daily basis. Ask yourself what you need to accomplish each day and what will put a smile on your lips and a skip in your gait and a trophy in your heart by the end of the day then work hard all day long to achieve it. Without SMART short and long term goals, your career will be out of your control and will spin in directions that may be far from favorable or desirable for you. Here are 12 easy ways to improve your productivity at work.

5. Treat your body well

We all know a healthy mind is in a healthy body, but how much do you really invest in eating right, sleeping right, exercising regularly, and getting enough sunlight for optimal vitamin absorption? 80% of polled professionals in the region said they can squeeze some exercise time into their busy schedules, as per the Bayt.com ‘MENA Professionals’ Health and Eating Habits’ poll, April 2012. Beside the immediate adrenalin rush you will get from a proper diet and regular exercise routine, you will invariably look better, feel better and be more productive if you feel fit, healthy and energetic. Here are 10 simple steps to improve your personal wellness today and four steps to a healthy, easy lunch at work.

6. Make new friends

Never underestimate the power of human contact to lift, educate and inspire. Get out and network regularly, if not to make new friends then to expand your professional contacts. Who knows you may even meet a soul mate or learn something new. You can meet and interact with professional peers online through professional networking sites such as Bayt.com Specialties, or physically at industry events, conferences, exhibitions, workshops, courses, and career fairs.

7. Have the right attitude

If you are the person who is always sulking and complaining and spreading bad vibes because you perceive your company does too little for you, it’s time for a rude awakening. Your career is entirely in your control and you need to ask yourself what you have done for your company lately to warrant that raise or promotion or special treatment you feel you deserve. Responsibility is usually taken, not given, and if you feel you will rise through the ranks with minimum effort, bad communication channels and a disruptive attitude you may be very disappointed. Loyalty goes a long way as does integrity, a professional attitude, and a strong work ethic. Here are five signs of a WOW professional.

8. Give a little

When was the last time you lent a helping hand around the office or outside the organization even? Do you leave the mail and newspapers lying on the floor when you arrive early in the morning for the next person to pick up? Do you greet people warmly by name and spread good energy in the office? Do you volunteer for special projects or extracurricular activities or social events or charity drives? Do you mentor or coach anyone in need or offer to help solve a problem that needs solving? Do you represent your company in the best of light outside of office hours? Lying very low and doing your job well independently of the fray may get you that promotion you crave but it won’t necessarily endear you or show your passion for the company and for your career.

9. Put yourself in your boss’s shoes

The height of professional immaturity may well be propagating a hostile “me versus them” attitude towards your boss and senior management in general. Most interviewers are trained to look out for professionals with disrespect or distrust for figures in authority and if you have such disdain for your managers it is highly advisable you do some immediate soul searching and address this as the problem it is. Not all managers are equal, but if you have chosen to work for one then you owe it to yourself and to them to maintain cordial productive relations and open respectful communication channels at all times. A technique that helps is to imagine you are the boss and ask yourself what it is that is expected and how you can best deliver on it.

10. Go that extra mile

This is about passion (here’s how to find your passion) and passion remains that single intangible factor that differentiates the clear winners from the plodders. If you are a permanent clock watcher and in your job for the monthly pay check rather than to make a profound contribution to the company and to learn and grow, chances are your career will remain at low altitudes and your motives and lukewarm attitudes are very transparent. High fliers ask themselves every day how they can excel and truly differentiate their companies and products and services and offerings to be the very best. Passion is felt by peers as well as by clients and is highly contagious and effective as a motivation and sales technique as well as an incentive to succeed. Here are 10 questions to assess if your career is on the right track.


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