Assuming your job is the main way you make money, being good at it is pretty important. If you suck, unless your parents own the company you work at, that’s probably bad news for your career.
But guess what, even if you’re actually good at your job, that is no guarantee you’ll have a successful career. For most people, excelling at work doesn’t just mean handing in perfect pieces of work, but also learning how to thrive in an office full of sometimes clashing personalities, and working effectively with others.
So if you’re great at what you do but can’t seem to get ahead, here are four things you might need to learn.
Get your coworkers to respect and cooperate with you
Just because you are (or think you are) a high-performing employee doesn’t mean everyone is going to bow down to you and acknowledge your greatness.
In fact, being good at your job can even work against you if it makes your colleagues feel threatened.
What’s more, high performers can often come off as abrasive and caustic because they’re so focused on getting things done that they have zero regard for the feelings of others. I’m sure we’ve all had a boss like that at some point in our lives.
From day one, you should make it a priority not just to do a good job, but also to learn how to get along with your colleagues, navigate the minefields of office politics (read: don’t get involved) and earn the respect and cooperation of the people you work with.
Pay attention not just to what you say to others, but how you say it to them, and don’t forget to always show respect and appreciation to others, just like you want them to do to you.
Ensure you’re not overloaded and maintain firm boundaries
It’s official—Singapore employees are the least productive of the 11 countries polled in a recent survey. And that surprises no one.
We’ve all worked at offices where everyone tries to do as little as possible as slowly as possible. And you can’t really blame them, because doing good, efficient work is often met with, not appreciation, recognition or the right to leave the office early but, you guessed it, more work.
The sad fact is that high performing employees in Singapore often get loaded with more work. A toxic workplace culture of presenteeism means that no matter how well or how quickly you’ve completed your tasks, you’re expected to stay late like the rest of them.
If that sounds like you, it’s essential to stand up for yourself, ensure you’re not overloaded and maintain firm boundaries when saddled with unreasonable requests. Learn to say “no” when you are being unreasonably overloaded. If your boss refuses to respect that, it’s time to start looking around for a new employer.
Never stop actively seeking opportunities to learn and grow
When you’re good at what you do and you know it, there can be temptation to rest on your laurels and continue winning.
But career growth often comes when we do what is difficult for us. If your employer isn’t offering you the chance to stretch your skills and leave your comfort zone, you will need to be active about seeking such opportunities on your own, such as by asking to take on new responsibilities, or spending your free time picking up new skills.
Make sure you are being fairly remunerated
You’re good at your job and hardworking, so that means your company should be recognising that and paying you more, right? Not necessarily. It really depends on your employer and their approach.
While there are some employers who will actively reward talent and hard work, there are others who just want to get away with paying employees as little as they can get away with.
If your employer is like that and you have been at the company for more than a few years, that means your salary is likely to have stagnated. It is often necessary for Singapore employees to jump ship to another company in order to force a pay increment.
The onus is on you to stay apprised of the market rate of salaries in your field, and to know when you are being underpaid.
Speak with your boss when you’ve reached the point where you are no longer being fairly remunerated, and if he is not willing to pay you what you’re worth, waste no time in looking for a better opportunity elsewhere.
Have you ever been put at a disadvantage because you failed to do any of the above? Share your stories in the comments!