Six Essential Secrets to Gain a Competitive Advantage at Work by Joel Garfinkle, Executive Leadership Coach
With the economy in flux, now more than ever, every aspiring leader needs to gain that competitive advantage. If you are not giving full value to your company, you may be replaced.
However, if you can give that extra value to the business you may find your position and compensation soaring. Simply working harder is not the answer. You’ll need to work more strategic. Learn what skills and focus will lift you above your competition, and which will just drain your energy.
- Stay Current on Your Skills. Developing leadership skills takes time and commitment. In addition, there are company specific skills you must have to do your job the very best. Be eager to master the required skills in both areas and then go beyond. If you learn the newest, cutting edge technologies or skill sets, you’ll become the go-to person. People will perceive you as the leader and the expert.
Moreover, there are personal skills that you excel at. Work may not require spreadsheet skills or a foreign language, but you love it. Keep current on those skills too. That added advantage may come in handy sometime at work.
- Focus on Value to the Company. Know how you and your job fit within the company system. What is it you do that increases the bottom line for the company? Do you lower their risks? Does your task management make the product flow more smoothly? Of all the jobs you’re assigned, which gives the most value to the organization? Make sure that is a priority and is done to a standard of excellence.
- Improve Your Inter-personal Skills. Hard skills are only half the battle. Getting along with others is equally or more important. Polish your skills in:
- Communicating clearly and effectively
- Giving instructive, productive comments
- Encouraging and supporting others
- Having a good attitude
- Team building
When you develop good business relationships with those around you, you can accomplish more. You help the company. And when you are really good at helping people see your vision, others will look to you for help. You’ll stand out and get the edge over others in your company.
- Communicate More Effectively. Good communication saves time and resources. If you can get your point across in one email instead of back-and-forth emails, you’ve saved your time and theirs. If you can explain the needs of the project quickly and succinctly, you’ll get faster results.
These both add value to the company, and in turn, increase your significance to your business.
- Do Great Work. Make sure your work is done correctly, on time, and on budget. If there’s a slow-down in the project, be sure it’s not coming from you and work to fix it. Don’t just mark time, make time work for you and accomplish your best.
- Go Beyond the Required. The unexpected stands out. When you take a step beyond the norm, you do what many people will not. This makes you exceptional. You gain that competitive advantage.
When you do these six things, you can be sure you are going beyond what many of your co-workers are doing. You will stand out to management. When promotions come along, you will have that competitive edge.
JOEL GARFINKLE is an executive leadership coach and author of Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level. He recently developed a step-by-step career advancement program for a VP specifically targeting her speaking up skills. After six months, she received the promotion she’s been denied for three years. Sign up to his Fulfillment@Work newsletter (10,000+ subscribes) and you’ll receive the free e-book “41 Proven Strategies to Get Promoted Now!”