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Have an edge over competitive colleagues

Views 0 Views    Comments 0 Comments    Share Share    Posted 24-11-2009  

Sparkle that turns the tide in your favour
Laziness will take you nowhere; but just hard work may not do much either. Experts tell you how to have an edge over equally good and competitive colleagues.

Doing a good job here is like wetting your pants in a dark suit. You get a warm feeling but no one else notices.

You may have read these lines in an internet forward and may have put them up on your desk too, partly out of jest and partly because you know it’s your case too, right?

Very often, it’s not so much about the cake as it is about the icing; that extra layer of sparkle that turns the tide in your favour. Marketing rules are being altered — content is still king, but packaging is an influential courtier. Extend this logic to an office, where everyone is armed with multiple degrees and polished resumes. To stand out, merely hitting targets and working overtime will not help. You need some icing.

Take your office attire seriously

Take your office attire seriously, even if your work environment is casual. What you wear communicates your outlook towards your job. “Do not break the office dress code,” says Meghana Jain, director of Quorum HR. “It will give you an edge when dealing with top management and clients outside office. Keeping your attire at least semi-formal is the need of the hour.” It implies that you take your job seriously, and are ready to be pulled to the next level. You needn’t look like a model on a ramp; being presentable is more than enough.

It starts with a harmless bite of information, and before you realise, the Chinese whispers turn into grapevine fodder with you as the puppeteer. Result : distrust and negative vibes. “It can also result in misuse of words and the damages are far from repairable.” warns Jain. “For all you know, the words may not even be yours.” And once the word is out there, you would have no control over who says what, and perhaps may never even know the dent it causes... until the next appraisal.

Each career demands a special skill set
Says Jain, “Each career demands a special skill set. However , the one that’s universal to all is to know how to ‘manage your boss’ . Without it, you’re not likely to succeed.” Employees often complain about lack of regular feedback, little realising that the reverse also holds true. When your team achieves something, praise your boss for his/her leadership and vision. Everyone needs positive reinforcement and your boss is no exception. “The trick here is to keep your praise sincere and not overdo it. Your boss is smart enough to see through it,” advises Jain.

Is there a office newsletter that you can contribute to? Or maybe a fund-raising drive initiated by a colleague? If yes, then go for it! “Like it or not, your work — no matter how much you do — falls under the ‘expected’ zone. It’s what you were hired for and there are no two ways about it. It’s the extra bit that you put in that makes you stand out. It shows that you can multi-task and fill up for someone when needed — precisely the qualities that bosses look for,” says media professional Avinash Lavate.

Update your skill set
Either you update your skill set and ensure you are in tune with the ‘latest’ or your boss will find someone who is. Subscribe to B2B magazines, read newspapers and know what’s going on. Living under a rock will give you just that — a place under a rock! “Also, as and when you know, keep your boss abreast with the developments. Do not wait to be ‘asked’. Take the first step. It will automatically single you out,” suggests Jain.

How good is being holed up in a cubicle and working tirelessly when you don’t even remember the last name of your colleague ? “They may be competitors , but a good rapport will encourage healthy competition ,” says creative writer Mohnish Modi. “It facilitates exchange of skills. These are the people you fall back on during emergencies. Moreover, after you leave the organisation they add to your network.” Take a 15-minute walk around your office and stop to greet people from other departments. Lastly, don’t forget to go for every office party; the best impressions are made when your bosses are letting their hair down.

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