Be The Best At Your Job By Following The 80/20 Rule

To be the best at your job, you must learn how to be in the top 20%. You’ve probably heard about the 80/20 rule. To use the example in the workplace, the idea is that, in general, 20% of the employees contribute about 80% of the work. The other 80% do the minimum to get by.

To really be the best in your job, you must make a conscious effort to work SMARTER, not necessarily HARDER.

So, how do you work smarter?

I've already shared some of these principles in other Strategies for Job Success:

  • Keeping track of your accomplishments and how you’ve overcome challenges and SHARING them with your manager.
  • Maintaining a positive attitude, even if you don’t like your job right now.
  • Knowing what your weaknesses are, and putting measures in place for improvement.
  • Setting goals and working towards achieving or exceeding them.
  • Finding the best traits in other people (hint, look at other 20%ers) and doing the same things.
  • Ignoring the noise.
  • Commending others on a job well done or thanking them for what they do.

Additional ways to work SMARTER and be the best at your job include the following:

  • Managing Up - The most important thing you can do in any organization is learning the fine art of “managing up.” In a nutshell, this means managing your boss, and possibly even people above him/her. This is a skill that will take some practice, but is definitely worth the time and effort. Sharing your accomplishments and challenges with your boss weekly is one way to manage up. If you and your boss have time each week, you can meet to discuss how the week went, what you learned, etc. Building a trusting relationship with your boss will help you immensely in your career. You must keep the lines of communication open. If you don’t trust your boss right now, and you want to be the best at your job, it is in your best interest to rebuild that bridge. This may mean having a heart to heart with your boss to let them know how you feel, and why there’s no trust. If you don’t think this is possible for your situation, start with sharing your accomplishments and challenges and slowly rebuild the lines of communication.
  • Position yourself as your manager's replacement - Most companies challenge their managers to identify and “mold” their replacement (a person who can easily take over the position). By doing this, it allows them to be promotable for higher level positions (and thus, opens up their position). You want to be identified as the replacement. One way to do this is by making your boss look good. Understand what’s expected of your organization, and ANTICIPATE what your boss may need or require of the team. Proactively work towards making it happen. Perhaps your boss needs to attend an out-of-town meeting. Ask him or her if there’s anything you do to help out while s/he’s away. If you know your boss needs to make a presentation for upper management, proactively send information that will help.
  • Remain customer focused - All your decisions and actions should be focused on what’s best and right for your customers. Make decisions that make it easier for your customers to do business with you. By customers, I refer not only to revenue-generating customers (those customers that buy from, and do business with your company), but also internal customers. Your internal customers are people within your company who rely upon your department for support or help. For example, if you’re in payroll, your customers are all employees who get a paycheck. If you’re in IT support, your customers are all the employees and departments that require your IT expertise. To be the best at your job, you must take care of your customers.
  • Give of your time and talents - Build others up, don't tear them down. When you see people on your team struggling, HELP THEM. When you consistently assist others, you become the resident expert in whatever you do. Word spreads when people are known to help others and you will be SOUGHT-AFTER by others in the organization for your opinion and expertise. To be the best at your job, you must learn to give of your time and talents.

"The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed." - Henry Ford

To be the best at your job requires patient persistence, as well as learning how to work SMARTER, not HARDER.

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