No matter what your position is in your company (Customer Service Representative, Project Manager, Team Leader, Manager), there are few measures you can take that will make your job easier, your work life happier and may inspire your colleagues to do the same when they learn how useful you can be to them.
What I’m going to share are the guidelines I’ve always followed at work –simple administration work and then Customer Service Representative moving up to management- and which have made all my work experiences great, have given me great relationships with my colleagues and bosses and have gained me promotions, bonuses and great recommendations.
First of all, know your product/service. Read the company’s procedural documents and most importantly, remember where to find them when you need them; clear your doubts with senior employees (and you might want to try to befriend them as well, they are always a good source of help); create your own documents (and share them); go a bit beyond your area of work, be aware of what happens in other areas in the company, where do you fit exactly, how your work affects the whole system. Knowing your sh…stuff will make you confident, will make your job easier and faster, and will gain you the respect of your bosses and colleagues.
Once you are truly confident you know what you do at work and how the wheel rolls, look for improvements. Don’t be afraid of proposing change. If you spot a whole procedure or a part of it that could be modified to work more efficiently, write it down, prepare your proposal and why you think it’s an improvement, discuss it with your colleagues or the people affected by it to enrich your proposal (I’ve met many colleagues who had really good ideas but for one reason or another kept them for themselves, and were really happy to see me putting them to action and giving them credit for them of course), ask for a meeting with your boss and go for it with all you have. The worst that can happen is that your boss ignores you (if you have this kind of boss start looking for a new job, don’t waste your brains in helpless companies), but you’ll most probably be heard and this will be the first step to start rebuilding to make everybody’s work better. This applies to procedures, relations within the team and with other teams, handling customers, etc.
In the third place, I strongly suggest you to smile. Bring a good spirit to your team. Many teams are bored of routine, people don’t interact much. Working in a happy team is a priceless motivator every manager should use, so if yours does, go along with them, and if they don’t, just do it yourself. Good spirits is a contagious thing. Talk to your colleagues, bring a cake once in a while, make breaks a time of fun conversation instead of complaining time, promote team buildings, even if it’s just having a coffee or a beer after work, try to remember birthdays, etc. I’ve worked like this even when my personal life was going down. You usually spend 8 hours a day at work, that is most of your day, so for your own sake, try to enjoy it. Plus you’ll be surprised how different people are when you bring them some joy, and you might make some good friends in the process.
And finally the most obvious one: be the best at what you do. Push your boundaries. Improve your skills with all the trainings you can. Be an example of time management, customer satisfaction and goals achievement. Get involved in new projects as much as your work allows. Take ownership for what you do, be responsible. Be the best at what you do, and if you are in a good company you’ll get rewarded one way or another, but even if you’re not you’ll have the great, precious feeling of self-satisfaction.
Give it a try and let me know!