5 Ways to Improve Your Job

I remember a supervisor at one of my first jobs picking up on a number of silly mistakes I had made and saying, “I don’t think it’s that you’re careless, I think you couldn’t care less.” She was right. There were a dozen things grabbing my attention and the job wasn’t one of them. It’s easy for productivity or the quality of work to suffer if the job is not grabbing your interest. However, there are some things you can do if you find a care-less attitude preventing you from doing your job.

  1. Look for creative ways to make your current tasks more interesting. For example, you might be able to take certain tasks outside the office —say, to a coffee shop— and complete them, without the usual office distractions.
  2. See if it is possible to trade or share tasks with a coworker One person’s tedium is another’s challenge. You might hate number-crunching in a spreadsheet, while a co-worker hates writing documents. Trading tasks could address the attitude problems for two or more employees.
  3. Ask for more challenging responsibilities. Job boredom often comes from not having enough to do. Adding responsibilities can make an old job seem fresh and new.
  4. Schedule your work to best manage routine or tedious tasks. Most jobs have some parts that are less desirable than others. Making use of scheduling to optimize the completion of such parts. You can group low-energy tasks together and schedule them for a time when your work energy is low. You might alternate tedious tasks with challenging tasks giving some balance to the day.
  5. Look for a new job. In the end, if you can’t make the changes necessary to stimulate you current situation, perhaps it’s time for a job change; either an internal move, a position in a new organization or a career re-direction.

Don’t stand by and let boredom hold you back. Grab a hold of opportunities to make your work more interesting.

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How to Praise Good Performance

You should remember that, as a supervisor, you’ll always get what you reward. if you ignore good behaviour, you may lose it and perhaps a good employee as well. While this may appear to be common sense, it is far from common practice.

We like to be recognized for doing good work.  We crave praise, but do not always like to give praise. One of your jobs as manager is to make sure you give out praise as often as possible. In the workplace it really holds true because it is a place where they spend on average 40 hours a week. People want to be happy and secure in a place where they spend so much of their time.

It only takes a few seconds to say, “Thank you,” and “great job,” but you get plenty of return.  It’s easy and effective. Timely praise can work wonders.

Here are some guidelines on giving praise:

Make it immediate – Your recognition will be most effective if it comes as soon as possible after the desired activity or achievement has occurred. Saving your praise for a later date will weaken its impact.

Be sincere – Your praise must be genuine and balanced. It will lose impact if it becomes regular and predictable. Don’t exaggerate and say things you don’t really mean.

Be specific – Avoid generalities like “great job”. Wait for a specific action to praise and then say something like, “You
did an excellent job of expediting that order today”

Praise good performance – Praising good performance is an effective way to inspire people to improve in weak areas. Don’t praise ordinary performance.

If you praise your workgroup for doing routine jobs, in a routine way, you’re not motivating them to do better —
and it will makc the praise you give them for excellent work seem less significant.

Give it meaning – Avoid simply recognizing employee achievements in passing. Rather, try to spend sorne time
with them so that they know their efforts to the workgroup and to the organization are recognized.

The supervisor must remember that employees thrive on recognition. They want to know if they are improving and
performing in their jobs. Delivering simple, direct praise for a task well done is the easiest way to show that recognition.

Supervisors who fail to realize this are depriving themselves and their employees of one of the most powerful forms of inspiration to shape desired behaviour and performance.

Have a Successful Job Interview with These Four Steps

One only has to pay attention to the news to know there are still a lot of people looking for employment. Unfortunately, the factors which lead to their unemployment have reduced the number of jobs available. If you’re out there looking for work, you know how much competition there is for each job.

You’ve landed an interview. You’re nervous and inventing “what if” scenarios. With these 4 P’s, you’ll increase your chances of a successful interview.

Prepare

Know yourself

Preparation is the first step toward a good interview. It takes time and work, but it’s crucial. Assess yourself to identify the skills you have to contribute to a company and job. Take stock, by listing on paper, your:

  • skills and competencies
  • knowledge
  • values and needs
  • beliefs
  • interests
  • personal characteristics.

Knowing your profile and what you want will give you more confidence and demonstrate to the interviewer you are purposeful and reflective—skills employers want employees to have.

Know the company

Learn all you can about the company you want to work for and the position you’ve applied for:

  • Call or visit the company and ask for information: brochures, the latest annual report, the goals and direction of the company, and other publications that might be useful. Look for a company website—your might get all the information there.
  • Find out the company’s vision and mission statement. You’ll get a feeling for how the company operates and how it sees its employees.
  • Be sure you know what the position requires. Ask the human resources department for a job description or find out more about the job from another worker in the company. Find someone who does similar work.

Knowing this information will show you’re interested in the company and motivated about the job qualities employers look for.

Know your contribution

With research done, you’re ready to anticipate questions you might be asked. Remember, the employer is trying to find out three things: can you do the job, will you do the job and will you fit the company’s style. Keep those things in mind during your interview and take opportunities to demonstrate how you will meet them. Here are some tips to help you prepare:

  • Create a master list of accomplishments from your work, leisure and volunteer activities and include the results achieved.
  • Review your accomplishments. Which are key to the position’s needs?
  • Write down questions an interviewer might ask. Put yourself in the interviewer’s shoes and think about what you would like a potential candidate to answer.
  • Tap your memory for stories that illustrate your skills and successes. Use the Situation, Action and Result (SAR) formula. For example, you saw a problem in the manufacture of a product and you took the initiative to find a way to solve it, or you worked on or managed a difficult project. Using SAR, describe the situation, explain your approach and describe the results.

Employers want to know what your track record is in achieving results and how you will contribute to successful outcomes.

Practice

Practice, practice, practice. Practice what you’re going to say and how you will say it. Use video or audio tape to see and hear how you perform.

Don’t memorize questions and answers. Instead, develop key points, based on the preparation step, that you want the interviewer to know about you. These key points can be used to respond to a variety of questions. Get someone to help by role-playing an interview scenario.

It’s important that you ask relevant questions during the interview. Make a list of three or four things you want to know about the position or the company. (Make sure these are questions you wouldn’t be expected to already know from your research.)

The employer wants to know how you communicate and wants to hear how your skills, knowledge and expertise match the needs of the position.

Participate

This step is all about how to act in the interview.

  • Are you fully involved? Do you appear to be motivated? Are you enthusiastic about the opportunity? Are you on your best behaviour?
  • Sit with good posture, leaning slightly forward to show interest. Body language is important.
  • Your tone of voice is key to communicating participation and perspective.
  • Make good eye contact—interviewers will expect you look them in the eye with confidence.
  • Watch the interviewer’s body language and expressions for keys to how you’re doing. Mirror some of the interviewer’s body language.
  • Listen closely to the questions so you can answer them accurately.
  • Be direct. Don’t ramble or go off topic.
  • Take time to think before you respond.

Give your utmost attention to the interview and the interviewer—this tells the employer you are dedicated to your commitments.

Be positive

Most people feel anxious when going on a job interview. You can choose to be positive and confident, even if you are nervous. It’s up to you. If you were the interviewer, what attitude would you prefer to see in a potential candidate?

Think of the interview as simply a meeting in which two parties are trying to find information which benefits each. This could decrease your anxiety levels. The employer wants to know if you can do the job, if you will do the job, and if you will fit into the organization, but it’s not a one-way exercise. You’re also trying to figure out if this is the type of organization where you want to use your skills and knowledge.

Your attitude is crucial to show the employer you are responsible to make your own choices.

Make your interview a positive and successful learning experience. By using the 4 P’s you might even enjoy the experience.

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