Have you incorporated these 3 unique abilities into your performance toolkit? With performance and communication being a solid baseline, these skills are how top performers separate themselves from their peers.
Adam Grant, in a Harvard Business Review podcast episode, said, “I think at some level keeping your composure is one of the ways that you’re getting evaluated when you’re given a review or how well you take the review.” The ability to keep your composure can be extended to a technical debate, strategy discussion, or when there’s pressure to deliver on a project.
When I asked a manager of a technical group at Amazon about what top performers do throughout the year that elevates them from an average employee, he said, “Top performers show up at work in the same mood or zone every day. It is difficult to get gelled in the work culture if you are moody.”
C] Being Approachable
Another manager at a Fortune 500 car company, who I interviewed for an upcoming course, said, “A common complaint I receive during meetings is that your direct reports were not approachable when we had a problem.”
The competence of supporting other groups in the company while maintaining your work priorities is an essential skill at the workplace.
If you are guarded towards additional requests, it could be because you don’t want to take too much on your plate. And that’s fair.
Here’s how to approach the situation by being encouraging and maintaining your boundaries.
Let’s say a team member from another group comes over and needs help with something. You can say, “Alright! This sounds interesting. I can definitely help you solve <insert issue> by doing <solution>. Can I follow up with you once I’ve spoken to <insert manager’s name> about how we can bring this work onboard?”
Talk to your manager, “Hey <insert manager’s name>, I was approached by <insert requestor’s name> to help them solve <problem>. I think we can do <solution>, and I estimate it will take <time>. My current priorities are <insert project tasks>. If I take this up immediately, it will push the current timeline by <hours/days>. Or, I can say that I can support them on <day> once <high priority task> is done. I think we should go with option B. What do you think?”
Based on what you and your manager decide, you can let your team member know and include your managers in the conversation. “Hey <requestor>, I spoke with <manager>, and we can support you on this work from <day> as we have an upcoming deadline for <high priority task>. Will that timeline work for you and your team?”
If they say yes, great! If they say no, the managers can talk and decide how to proceed. But in this scenario, you overcome the approachability complaint and are optimistic about working together.
This list is not exhaustive. There are other unique skills that you’re judged on as you try to be a leader for your team and get promotions, such as – understanding organizational cultures, engaging in innovation, being nimble when challenges creep up, and showing passion more than ambition.
If you want to rise from stagnation at work to a leadership role, check my upcoming course – Crush Performance Reviews for Engineers – https://maven.com/beyond-grad/crush-performance-reviews.