Spring Forward in Your Career: Part 1

Jessica Smith
Jessica Smith
In Culture, Engagement, Inspiration, Organization management
Jessica Smith is a tech recruiter and personal branding enthusiast. When she’s not networking, you can find her hosting a show for her podcast, ‘Career Coaching with Jessness’ over on iTunes.

Spring is all about new beginnings, and today’s post is about how you can bring about positive changes for yourself at work in the new season. Without further ado, here are some actionable tips you can implement TODAY to help create more visibility for yourself at work.

When I say visibility I’m not talking about moving your desk to the lobby. While that would literally give you more visibility, what I mean by this is to create more opportunity for yourself to be positively noticed for the work you do, and how you’re showing up each day.

What I see most common in why people aren’t moving forward in their career comes down to mindset. There seems to be a fear based mindset around the ‘how’ – many perceive the way in which you move to the next level in your career as a steep mountain, much too vertical to climb.

Many of the career practices I teach relating to career progression isn’t so much about adding additional tasks to your ‘to-do’ list, but more about becoming aware in the ways you’re completing tasks already on your list.

We’re going to break it down so this mountain you see before you, can start to break down into smaller hills. If you can keep this type of mindset, before you know it, the spring forward effect is well on it’s way!

Seek Feedback

You don’t know what you don’t know. We all know the saying when it comes to assuming, and trying to be a mind reader is no fun. Taking a proactive approach to seeking feedback is not only going to give yourself a clear game plan on how to get better at what you do, but it’s also a guaranteed way to help spring you into action, therefore creating a momentum of visibility amongst your peers.

When you proactively ask for feedback, it causes a ripple effect, creating a safe environment for others to exchange feedback as well. Dynamic teams communicate regularly, they’re not afraid to have conversations around performance, improvements, and continuous learning. They grow, change, and progress faster if there is a culture of open communication in place. Why not be the first in beginning to create this type of environment. Chances are, next time that performance review comes around you are going to be getting rave reviews on your ability to make things happen.

Remember, we’re making hills out of this career progression mountain. I don’t advise heading into work tomorrow to tell everyone on your team about things they aren’t good at. But what I do suggest is to start seeking feedback on small tasks you’re responsible for. Maybe you’re in charge of a weekly report that gets sent out? Something that is already on your to-do list, you aren’t looking to add more, but to get better that what you’re already required to do. Ask your peers about the format of the report? Is there an easier way to share it? Are there ways you can include others to collaborate? Simply asking if it’s easily understood, is a great starting point. The ripple effect will begin just by asking a couple questions, others will start to feel more comfortable talking to you about your work. You might even see others asking you how they can improve the tasks they have at hand!

LISTEN

This one is a big one! Take two minutes to think about today’s world; there are so many distractions, apps, chat boxes, Google docs, emails, ads, shiny things over there, fun new ideas here, you get the idea. Too many times, I find instead of giving people space to speak uninterruptedly, before the person is even done with their thought, others are cutting them off and sharing what they think. Before the person can even finish a complete thought, the audience is coming in to share their ideas.

In dynamic teams, this can be a great thing, and it can be perceived as people caring, people being passionate, and the team wanting to be involved. I’m not discrediting that what so ever, but I’m bringing awareness to this kind of situation, and how it can feel like no one is truly listening if things like this are going on. When you have a teammate that actively listens, it feels extremely different than if you have people frantically sharing their own ideas before you’re even finished.

One of the easiest ways to demonstrate you’re listening goes back to the good ‘ol body language lesson. Nod, make eye contact, smile when you agree with something someone is saying. It’s impactful and completely possible to to connect with the person who’s talking, without having to say anything at all.

Would listening be something new you’re adding to your to-do list? I sure hope not, but next time you’re in a meeting or a one-on-one discussion, notice how you show up. After all, we’re all busy, but take some conscious time to be present with the person who’s speaking with you.

Taking notes is another way you can visibly show you’re listening. Anyone involved in meetings from time to time? Yep? Take some notes. Even if the topic doesn’t directly relate to you, taking notes and showing you’re writing at all is a level of engagement that’s overlooked a lot of the time.

As a recruiter, I meet with hiring managers to go over positions I’m partnering with them to fill. That way, I understand what it is they’re looking for, what the role entails, and how the interview process for the candidates I find is going to move from there. Other than making eye contact and not checking my emails, you guessed it…I take notes! Regardless of whether or not I need all of the information they’re sharing to find the right person. It goes deeper than that, by taking notes, I’m showing them I’m listening, without having to say, “I HEAR YOU.”

So there you have it, two very simple, very easy actionable tips you can begin to implement this week, TOMORROW when you arrive to work. Incorporating this kind of engagement each day you show up, and becoming aware of how you’re executing on routine tasks is a sure way to help you spring forward in your career faster. It will create more visibility, and in turn help you to also spring forward to the front of that promotion line. What do you think? Tweet me @coachJessness with your top aha moment.


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Spring Forward in Your Career: Part 1

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