How to Excel in a Competitive Workplace

competitive workplaceI was recently asked to speak to a group of professionals as part of a junior mentor program. I chose to speak about what I believe it takes to succeed in a competitive workplace, based on my experience supporting the growth of Navigate and working with so many motivated and successful team members.

Below is a brief overview of my six tactics for success.

1. Invest in others and in relationships. 

Understand that strong relationships with your clients and colleagues matter, and to foster relationships, you should develop habits that include:

– Being an active and engaged listener
– Being grateful and, in doing so, being specific with your praise of others
– Using people’s names
– Asking questions to gain understanding and demonstrate your interest
– Being empathetic

2. Work hard and trust the process.

Don’t get distracted by what your colleagues are doing. If you work hard, seek out opportunities to improve your skillset, go above and beyond where necessary, and make every day count, then good things will come. Focusing on those around you – their promotions, their experiences, their salaries, etc. – is a distraction that will not propel you forward in your career path.

3. Speak up for yourself.

Let your employer and/or boss know your interests and how they align to the greater goals of the business: where do you want to go in your career, why is it important to you, and, importantly, how your goals will support the firm’s business objectives. This is not about making demands; rather, it is being clear about your desire to move up through the ranks over time and commitment to your firm.

4. Get comfortable taking risks.

There will be unknowns both in your work and career. Embracing risks will lead to new experiences and opportunities. Embrace opportunities to get out of your comfort zone.

5. Focus on building upon your strengths, not fixing your weaknesses.

Identify what you excel at and then continue to advance those skills. This will be your greatest opportunity for personal improvement! Not sure what your strengths are? Try the CliftonStrengths assessment (formerly Clifton StrengthsFinder). For a fee, this hour-long online assessment will help you discover your talents and enable you to use that insight to improve your performance.

6. Do not underestimate the power of optimism.

People in the workplace want to be around hardworking, optimistic people. Your positivity can go a long way, especially in times of stress or uncertainty.

Of course, there are two sides to this equation. Yes, you should certainly consider the above to find success in a competitive environment, but businesses need to consider the role that they play in positioning their teams for success. If you’re a senior executive, work to ensure that you have an organizational structure in place that aligns to your business and department goals. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, span of control, rewards programs, and career paths – each have a real impact on the performance of your team. If I can be helpful in improving your organization’s performance in a way that encourages employee success, please contact me at 484.383.0606 or [email protected].

Dave Crossed, Managing Partner
competitive workplace



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