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How to Be More Effective at Work

Effective– Adequate to accomplish a purpose; producing the intended or expected result; successful in producing a desired or intended result

 

It’s easy to assume that every executive who is employed in an organization desires to be effective, and knows how to achieve this. After all, they applied for the job, didn’t they?

However, close examination of both the employment process and the performance of selected candidates afterward tells a different story. Rather than merely employing officers to do grunt work, many organizations today seek to increase productivity by creating executive positions at entry-level. The goal is to eliminate spoon-feeding by filling positions with qualified people who can take charge and work with minimum supervision.

Yet, countless interviewers have told of candidates who didn’t even know what the company did, or what the position they were applying for entailed. Young graduates who just want jobs and aren’t particularly concerned about making a contribution to a company are in the majority today.

If you’re an executive who is ready to focus on your own performance, here are a few nuggets to consider:

  • Effectiveness is not a gift certain people were born with; it is something every person can learn. As opposed to what is commonly believed in today’s working world where some employees consider certain colleagues “lucky”, effectiveness is a habit; a complex of practices.
  • The foundation of these practices is time management. Effective executives know where their time goes. Instead of breezing through the day without being able to account for how they spent it, they work methodically at managing whatever amount of time can be brought under their control.
  • Effective executives opt for a result-oriented approach instead of the more common work-oriented approach many executives are used to. They focus on outward contribution. They start out with the question, “What results are expected of me?” rather than focusing on the work to be done and the techniques and tools needed to do the work. Needless to say, such an approach leaves room for innovation. When your eyes are on the result, your initiative is put to work, and chances of coming up with various means to achieve it are increased. Apparently the same cannot be said for an executive who is just focused on “work”.
  • Working smart isn’t a cliché, and it has its advantages. It pays to build on strength; not just your own strengths but also the strengths of your superiors, colleagues, and subordinates.
  • One habit that you must cultivate in order to be effective is concentration. An effective executive must concentrate. Effective executives concentrate on the major areas where superior performance will produce outstanding results. They set priorities and stick to them. They learn the art of deciding what tasks not to tackle and sticking to the decision not to.
  • You can’t be an effective executive if you make hasty decisions. An executive is expected by virtue of their position and knowledge to make decisions that have a significant impact on the entire organization. Avoid making many decisions fast, as this often leads to making the wrong decisions. Instead, focus on making a few fundamental decisions based on the right strategy.

Not doing more than average is what keeps the average down. There ought not to be anything exalted about being an effective executive. Unfortunately, the business world is teeming with executives who spend more time watching the clock, eager to fly out as soon as it signals closing time. This is why the executive who trains himself on effectiveness immediately stands out and attracts high praise.

It is not enough to simply show up. Instead of being merely an employee who does the barest minimum, make a decision to actually contribute and improve your organization by serving customers better.

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Joy Ehonwa

Joy Ehonwa is an editor and a writer who is passionate about relationships and personal development. She runs Pinpoint Creatives, a proofreading, editing, transcription and ghostwriting service. Email: pinpointcreatives [at] yahoo.com

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