A 10-Step Strategy To Help You Positively Impact Your Career
When you stop to consider that every single thing you say and do has the potential to significantly impact your career, you realise how much power you have as an individual!
As human beings, we love to know when we’re creating a positive impact but it’s also human nature to want to avoid conflict, so if you’re creating a negative impact, it’s possible that nobody will tell you for fear of making the situation worse.
To create the best possible impact and enhance your chances of career progression and fulfilment, it’s important that you adopt a strategic view. In this blog, we’ll explore ten ways that you can ensure your impact is as positive as possible so that you set yourself up for professional success.
-1- Raise your awareness. Be alert to people’s responses and reactions to what you say and do. What feedback are you getting?
-2- Pause. Once you become aware of the feedback, take a moment to consider your response.
-3- Take ownership. Instead of feeling slighted by other people’s reactions, recognise that you have the power to transform your impact by changing what you say or do (or how you say or do it!). We share more on this in our blog How Being Mindful Of Our Language Can Build Better Relationships In The Workplace.
-4- Don’t let other people choose your behaviour. It’s easy when someone is abrupt or dismissive of you to want to reflect that back, but that perpetuates a negative ripple. What if you chose to respond with compassion and kindness and changed the energy of the conversation? Remember that you get to choose how you show up in the world.
-5- Seek first to understand, then to be understood. This is a habit Stephen R. Covey encourages you to adopt in his captivating book The 7 Habits Of Highly Effective People. Instead of pushing your agenda on somebody else, listen and get clear on what they’re saying so that you create a culture of engagement and collaboration.
When you listen and take the time to understand other people’s needs, you build rapport, trust and engagement, which creates the space for you and your work to create greater influence.
By failing to fully understand someone else’s agenda and pressing on with your own, you’ll most likely create a negative impact which leads to stress, distrust and betrayal; people tell other people when they’ve had a bad experience with someone (especially when they don’t have a good rapport).
When you create a negative impact, productivity and collaboration decrease. People will go the extra mile for people they enjoy working with, which in turn helps to create a stronger, more positive impact.
-6- Clearly define and refine your strategies. Pay attention and do more of what is generating good results. Change or stop anything that creates a negative impact.
When you take a moment to pause and reconnect with your strategy, you can interrupt your usual reaction and choose a better way to respond. Every phone call, every meeting, every email is an opportunity to create a positive impact.
Check out our earlier blog Why Strategic Thinking Will Help You Progress Your Career Faster.
-7- Positive mindset. Check in with yourself regularly to determine how your thinking is affecting your impact. Pay attention to how you feel if you notice you didn’t create the positive impact you intended, and do your best to get back on track rather than berate yourself. We all have off days!
-8- Make your impact known. It’s likely most of us have been involved in a project where our input was overlooked and the credit handed to a colleague. Find a way to speak up and ensure that your efforts are noticed and credited to you. While we all want the “best outcome” for a project, if you are not being acknowledged for what you do, the opportunities for you to progress your career are threatened. Give credit where credit is due, and ensure it’s reciprocated by reminding colleagues or management of your involvement.
You can find out more about this in our blog How To Be More Visible In The Workplace And Get Promoted (Without Being Pushy).
-9- Keep it in perspective. Remember that in your career everything connects back to you, and if the majority of what you say and do creates a positive impact, people are more inclined to cut you some slack if you have an off day. For example, a former banking colleague of mine had an emotional outburst during a meeting. People liked him, enjoyed working with him, and the general consensus was that “he cared”.
He was passionate and outspoken, and people relied on his honesty. He had an automatic “get out of jail card” because that one outburst was overshadowed by the positive impact he created the majority of the time.
On the other hand, if the individual had been known to consistently create a negative impact, that outburst might have been the final straw for some of his colleagues. People don’t want to work with someone who is inconsistent or who consistently produces a negative impact, which in turn inhibits their chances of career progression.
-10- Remain authentic. Whatever you do, stay true to you. It’s destabilising to go against your values and what you stand for, even in pursuit of promotion! It creates inner conflict, which will likely make you less happy in your role.
I hope this blog has helped you reflect on the impact that you are creating at work and how you can enhance it, going forwards, to support the career you want.
Even if hindsight tells you that you haven’t always created a positive impact, it’s not too late to start to turn that around in the workplace that you’re in.
Committing to creating a positive impact can be the difference between stepping up your career and soaring to new heights, or plateauing and floundering where you are. Commit to the ten tips and make course correction part of your strategy – and if you’ve already been doing that, enjoy the rewards!