Communicate with the Corner Office
Patrick Sweeney, president of Caliper Corporation, says: "Finding a way to work effectively with your manager is the first step in ensuring you're even playing the right game, much less stepping up yours."
If you haven't gotten along with your boss in the past, now is the time to change your attitude. After all, you can't change your boss, but you can change how you interact with him. Pay attention to how he works, and to what motivates him. Make his goals your goals, and by helping him achieve what he wants, he'll help you achieve what you want.
Make Sure You're Being Measured
Many times, managers are too busy (or too lazy) to take the time to set up benchmarks for each of their employees. But there's no better tool for measuring your performance than benchmarks, so be forceful about setting some in your next performance review, especially if you came in under expectations. A manager should be able to detail what those expectations are, as well as what you need to do to meet them for next time.
Truly Be a Team Player
Everyone claims to be a team player, but not everyone, in fact, is good at it. "Being part of a team means eliciting the very best of yourself, not just for your own career, but to elevate others around you by your own commitment," says Sweeney.
Pay attention to the strengths and weaknesses of your other team members, and determine where you can best be an asset. If meetings lack organization, don't be afraid to step up and take the reins, assuming everyone's okay with that.
Put Away That Ego…
Especially if you're just starting out in your career. Sweeney says at the entry level, you'll likely do a lot of routine work. "Move past your need for immediate gratification, master the work you're given and soon you'll be tasked with more challenging responsibilities."
Realize you're on a journey, whether you're at the beginning of it, or if you are farther down the path. There simply is no shortcut to success.
Know That Success Takes Hard Work
All those stories about overnight millionaires and effortless climbs up the corporate ladder? Myths. It can sometimes be daunting, looking at how far you are from your goal to take over as CEO/make enough to retire/earn Employee of the Year 10 times in a row. But you'll get there with continuous effort. Just never stop trying.
Don't Get Distracted
This is more of a challenge these days, with such misplaced focus put on multitasking. But switching from email to Twitter to a phone call, all within minutes, can detract from getting any of those things done well.
And there are plenty of other distractions that can take away from your high performance, says Sweeney: "Don't give over to distraction, whether it's deadline pressure, office gossip, or your own personal life. When the crunch is on and you have to deliver something outstanding, becoming completely engrossed is what will get you there."
Lindsay Olson is a founding partner and public relations recruiter with Paradigm Staffing and Hoojobs.com, a niche job board for public relations, communications, and social media jobs. She blogs at LindsayOlson.com, where she discusses recruiting and job search issues.