By Bruce Tulgan
The first person you have to manage every day is you. You want to be in a strong position at work. You want to take charge of your role in every relationship with every boss. It's just that there are so many factors beyond your control at work.
I've done hundreds of focus groups with thousands of people around one very simple question: What gets in the way of your success at work? Like clockwork, nine out of 10 responses are factors that are totally beyond the control of the individual.
What gets in the way of your success?
- Company policies, rules, regulations, corporate culture, standard operating procedures
- The way things have always been done around here.
- There is too much work and not enough time.
- There are too many low-priority activities that take me away from my most important tasks and responsibilities.
- There is a lot of conflict between and among employees, which creates a stressful, negative mood.
- Resources are limited and sometimes I don't have the people, materials, and tools that I need to do the job.
- There is no clear chain of command in this organization.
- I answer to too many different people.
- My various bosses each have different standards of performance and conduct.
- My various bosses each tell me conflicting things about what should take priority.
- My various bosses each tell me conflicting things about rules and policies.
- Some bosses yell and scream and make things difficult.
- Sometimes bosses don't make time for me one-on-one, some bosses don't make expectations clear, and some don't keep track of performance.
Sound familiar? There are so many factors beyond your control.
But you control you. You control your own thoughts, words, and actions. You control your attitude, commitment, time, effort, and your ideas. You are responsible for playing your role to the best of your ability every day at work. So be powerful. Focus on what you can control: You.
First, make sure that the first person you are managing every day is you. Make sure you are taking good care of you outside of work so that you are bringing your very best to work every day. Arrive a little early. Stay a little late.
And while you are at work, you need to be all about the work. Your work, that is. Focus on playing the role assigned to you before you ever try to reach beyond that role. Focus on your tasks, your responsibilities, your projects. Focus on doing them very well, very fast, all day long.
Reprinted with permission from HR.com.