2016 is coming to a close, and if you’re like me you’re probably making some resolutions to better yourself come the new year. Of course, there are the usual vows to exercise, call your mother more often, and maybe do something about that half-finished project you started last spring. However, what about when it comes to your professional life? Everyone develops bad habits over the years, and what better time to start fixing them than the new year? Here are a list of the 3 resolutions you should make in the workplace this year, and what you can do to follow through with them.
1 - Eliminate Negative Attitudes
It’s funny to think about it, but everyone loves to complain and hates hearing others do it. This seems to be especially true at work. Whether you love your job or not, there are always days where you would rather be at home cuddled up with your dog and a good book. Nothing makes those days worse than hearing somebody else complain about how they don’t want to be there, either. Excessive complaining is a great way to bring down the energy in the room, and almost always leaves everyone in a worse mood.
Even if you’re not the kind of person who complains often, there are other ways to spread negativity with your attitude. Spreading gossip is very common among office environments, and it can be hard not to be involved without physically plugging your ears or walking away. Also, providing aggressive or unhelpful criticism can create a negative atmosphere for your coworkers. Changing these attitudes is a great first step to creating a 2.0 version of yourself for 2017, and will add a lot of positivity to your workplace.
Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be a resolution if the problem was easy to fix. It’s one thing to say you’ll simply change your attitude, but if it were that simple I wouldn’t be writing this blog. Here are a few things you can do it improve your attitude at work:
- Surround Yourself with Positive People
Avoid those colleagues that bring you down with negative attitudes or excessive gossip. If you’re forced to work in a confined space with them, confront them directly or go to your Human Resources manager to work on changing their attitudes.
- Always Act with a Purpose
Don’t simply meander through your workday blindly, but rather have clear objectives and make sure you’re aware of how everything you do or say directly affects those around you. Whether your purpose at work is to advance within your company or to learn a specific skill set, make sure every action you take is intended to make those things happen. This will eliminate the excess “fluff” of your workday and leave you with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
- Don’t Take Yourself too Seriously
Being professional and grounded are great qualities to have, but make sure you’re able to laugh at yourself when you make mistakes. Often times overly serious people get angry with themselves when they screw up, and this can affect their well-being and that of those around them. By lightening up a little and cutting yourself some slack, you’ll improve your mentality and be a more pleasant person to be around.
- Don’t Compare Yourself to Others
Not everyone in the office performs at the same level, so it’s important that you don’t constantly compare yourself with your colleagues. Whether you work more efficiently than others or you’re still learning the ropes, comparing yourself with them will only diminish the atmosphere and your attitude.
- Be Optimistic
If you’re not a ‘glass half full’ kind of person, this can be tricky. However, forcing yourself to take a brighter outlook on things can really increase your attitude. Sometimes it’s as simple as not saying the negative things that you usually do (refer to the bit about complaining) but rather saying something positive. Instead of saying “this isn’t going to work” say “we can make this work” and follow through. The phrase “fake it ‘til you make it” can go a long way, and will inspire those around you to do the same.
- Let Go of Petty Grudges
If you’ve been with a company for a while, you’ve likely formulated opinions about most of your colleagues, and those opinions are not always good. It’s impossible to like everybody, especially if you’ve had specific experiences that spark disconnect. Personality types clash, and that’s okay as long as both parties act professionally. However, if it’s just one grudge that you’re holding onto as a reason to dislike somebody, try to forgive them for the issue and attempt to mend the bridge. Whether they are willing to meet you halfway or not, you’ll feel better knowing you made an attempt and took the high road.
2 - Eliminate Stagnation
If you’re feeling like you’ve been in a “rut” for some time, your New Year’s resolution should be to achieve some semblance of personal and professional growth in the workplace for 2017. Once you become complacent with your job it’s difficult to muster up the same passion and vigor you had when you first started. Workplace stagnation is a fast track to hating your job and decreasing your potential for future employment. If you do want to make this resolution, the best thing to do is identify what exactly is making you stagnant. Here are the major signs:
- No Learning Potential
When it comes down to it, you should always be learning new things. Most jobs evolve over time, and you should always be prepared for the next shift. Looking back, when was the last time you learned a new skill at work?
- Boredom On The Job
Your job should be challenging and fully utilize the skills you possess. If you’re finding you spend significant time staring off into space, mindlessly perusing social media, and otherwise feeling bored, you’ve reached a point of stagnation.
- Lack of Recognition
Maybe your job is challenging and you’re content for the most part. Ask yourself, when was the last time you received a raise or direct praise from your supervisor? You should get credit for your efforts, and not doing so will make you look and feel underrated.
The first thing you need to know about this resolution is that you have to really want it. Many people are fully content to work the same job for years on end and never move up or learn new skills, as long as they’re still making money. I encourage you to try new things this year; perhaps request a raise or find a way to spark some passion in what you do.
3 - Being Overlooked and Underheard
This particular resolution might not apply to everybody, but if it applies to you I would say it is arguably the most important thing you should work on for 2017. Not everybody is outgoing and headstrong and that’s okay, but nobody should be overlooked in the workplace because of it. It’s important to be on your superior’s radar so that you can contribute ideas and avoid missing out on promotions and pay raises you are otherwise qualified for. If you feel like you fall into this category, 2017 should be the time where you break out of your shell and show your colleagues why you were hired and why you should stop being taken for granted.
The best way to prevent being overlooked in your office all comes down to one thing: your value within your company. After all, you were given this job for a reason, you just have to nail down what that reason was and make sure everyone else knows it. Here’s how you can do that.
- Determine It
It’s difficult to determine our own value because we’re so close to who we are - our images of ourselves are warped over decades of past experiences. You have to pinpoint exactly what you bring to the table within your company, and don’t be modest! Ask yourselves these questions: What makes me different and unique? What problem do I solve while being here? What would fall through the cracks or not get completed if I were to leave? These are a great starting point to figuring out your value within your company.
- Own It
Now that you know what value you bring to the table, own it. This should give you more respect for the position and in turn more respect for yourself. This increase in your self-esteem will not only affect you but also your colleagues. A recent study by ScienceDirect shows how self-esteem has a positive effect on those around you. As you get more comfortable owning your value, see what other skills you can develop. This process will not happen overnight, but over time you will develop into a more confident employee and won’t be overlooked again.
- Communicate It
Now that you’ve become more secure in your position and understand your value to your company, communicate that to your superior. I don’t mean you should walk up to him or her and scream “I’m important” in their face, but rather ask to set up a meeting to go over the work you’ve been doing. Employee reviews are a great time to share what changes you’ve been making, and studies show those are starting to be held on a more regular basis, rather than only once a year. Take this opportunity to sit down with your supervisor one on one so they won’t have any choice but to put you on their radar, and show them why you should stay there.
The new year is a great time to build a new you, and by following through on these three resolutions you can improve your personal and professional growth significantly. Want more information like this? Join our community of thought leaders and subscribe to our blog!