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2 habits that show you are trustworthy and mature

I know a developer who lusts after all the sexy projects. He asks for them and he wants to talk about them. You might think this kind of enthusiasm makes you a star in your boss’s eyes. And it can, up to a point. But what if my developer wants to talk about the sexy projects with a handful of unfinished ones still on his plate?

That’s a dangerous habit for your career because it can give your boss the impression that you’re a lightweight – someone who will try to take on everything that comes your way leaving unfinished and half-ass work in your wake.

Those who really succeed, do so by handling a few important projects really well. Below are two critical ingredients to making that happen.

the importance of knowing your bosses priorities1. Know your boss’s priorities and live by them. He’s the one who decides what’s important and what’s not. If you are not getting clear guidance, you’ll need to ask questions until you really know how to rank what you’re working on. Help your boss understand the trade-offs.

If you want to talk about something that’s not currently near the top of your list of important projects, make sure you first give an update on the top projects presently underway before bringing up a new subject.

2. Say ‘no’ when low priority items will degrade your performance on important projects. Just as it’s tempting for you to take on every project your boss mentions, it’s also tempting for your boss to give you too many projects. We all have eyes that are too big for our stomachs. When you say ‘no,’ you are simply introducing some reality into the discussion and that’s a mark of maturity.

You’d be wise to say ‘no’ gently, however. You might say something like “Eric, can you help me prioritize that in relation to my other projects?” and follow up with “Based on those priorities, I’ll probably be hitting that project next quarter, does that work for you?”

When you focus religiously on your boss’s priorities, you’ll earn a reputation for strong execution, for accepting guidance well and good teamwork. Your boss will know that you understand the meaning of ‘less is more’.

“Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to remove.”

–Antoine de Saint-Exupery

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  • I learned this over the last ten months, working at a really tough middle school in the South Bronx. Most people think the students are the hard part, but the real difficulties came with communicating with administrators. At first, I didn’t want to overstep my boundaries. I was new on the team and less experienced and didn’t want to start off on the wrong foot.

    Staying quiet forced me into high stress and high volumes of work. Because I wasn’t involving myself at all in curriculum building and leaving it to others, I spent hours translating worksheets, summarizing long texts and creating 3x as many materials per lesson as a general education teacher (I teach Bilingual Eng/Span). I was meeting deadlines for team leaders and administrators but was never recognized for anything beyond. I didn’t want to volunteer for everything but I wanted to be noticed. My administrators and I had no relationship and I felt there was no way I’d be regarded as a leader.

    A few months in I decided being forward and honest are what have gotten me a voice in other spaces and I began injecting that into my persona during team meetings. Soon, I began to balance when I spoke. I chose the battles I knew I’d win. I also proved that I was reliable and mature by making sure when I brought something to the table it had great value. I volunteered for extra hours, I made suggestions that were feasible with clear steps for execution during meetings and I suddenly found my administrators asking ME for advice. I was able to say no when I was overwhelmed and would outline my schedule for the week in an email to put the list of tasks in perspective for them. They knew I was doing just enough and didn’t want to jeopardize quality for quantity. My workload also lessened because I was being proactive by developing curriculum that accounted for my students; by showing them I could produce the things they needed done, they allowed me to prioritize my own needs whenever I could squeeze those in too.

    While not along the exact same lines as the account above, I was trying to find a way to reconcile being regarded as a trustworthy worker AND making sure my students were advocated for, Overall, I learned that the key is balance. You have to be willing to work hard but you also have to know when you’re overreaching. No one likes a suck up but no one ever notices the shadows. We have to maintain consistency in our work and its quality, in our voice, and it will translate into strong character to those who we want to impress.

  • The first thing I love about this article is that it promotes pushing yourself above and beyond the normal standards. It really helps you to understand the best way to succeed in your workplace is by connecting your own style and personality to the best way of getting the job done.

    I looked farther into one of the sub articles titled, “2 habits That Show You Are Trustworthy and Mature,” and found that I relate to the type of worker the article says not to be. Last year, I took a job at Burlington. My boss was very impressed by the way I put together and presented my resume. So, I wanted to keep impressing her. I started to never tell her no. Every task she gave me I jumped for it and ended up running back and forth between unfinished projects. She made me a runner that worked in any department where staff was lacking, and I always had to ask questions because I was always doing something new.

    After reading this article, I realized that this was not the best approach to showing my skills. I was very depressed and felt like I did not accomplish anything really. That was truly a learning experience and I am proud to say I now know how to avoid this situation again.

  • I can’t overemphasize how important the principle of priority-setting has been in my life. I grew up in an environment where the concept of ‘working hard’ was given more of an emphasis than ‘working smart’. I have realized however, an especially in the work environment, there is so much to do and so little time that, no matter how hard I worked, if i didn’t effectively meet the most pressing needs, I often seemed inefficient.
    Now, I ask a lot more questions, and never assume. I have realized that communication is key in setting priorities, and I have noticed the world of difference between how I work now, and how I used to.

  • Being able to prioritize is the key to success! However, it’s important to regularly communicate with the boss to ensure that my list aligns with his!

  • By placing the priorities of the boss first I can see why as an employee you would become all that more valuable. It does show a higher sense of understanding and perception into what your boss need and therefore how you can rise up to meet those said needs. Then it would seem vital that you should take action and carefully study your boss in order to adequately come to understand what he/she defines as a priority.

    Yet I would have never fathomed that saying “no” to your boss is something that would be encouraged so this point definitely piqued my interest. However given the explanation I can fully comprehend why this is so imperative to do, it shows that your not always capable of doing everything,but that you are an actual person.

    Even though we may want to try and do the very best we can and give everything our one hundred percent, the limitations we have within ourselves prevent us from doing so, but that is alright because we would not be human if we did not have some point where it all became too much.Therefore by disagreeing and showing opposition it makes everything more practical as well as realistic, as you are being responsible not only for yourself but for the good of the company too.

    I can relate to a time where I was fortunate enough to have chance to help people by going on a mission trip, where we had to prioritize the tasks that we had to accomplish that day. It was in the unforgiving bolstering month of June the sun beaming down on us (my fellow missionaries and I) Costa Rica is not all to far from the equator and the heat had us all sweating and melting as the time inched by.

    There was work to be done an as the passion within me grew to aid and help others, the project was to build an old deteriorating church in a unkempt impoverished neighborhood. The boys were to carry the massive concrete wall slabs seven feet tall and twelve feet in length, but even when the head coordinator asked if I could help the thought of refusing did not come to mind even though I knew that it was a bigger task than I could handle. Sure enough my lanky arms buckled and that massive slab came blundering down on my toe with tingles of pain shooting throughout my body. I had the misconception that saying no would seem irresponsible of me and would demonstrate a lack of resolve, but I was clearly mistaken and sustained a painful price.

  • Prioritizing is not just important in the job, but in life as well. You cannot be successful at anything by simply not prioritizing. I also feel that it is very important to reject on doing certain things, as if in this case projects. You would wish to go back and saying “no” to a certain project you were assigned when you realize just how overloaded with work you are. This can not only make you look bad, but it can also make the company that you are working for look bad as well. The boss would not like that. It is just best to play it safe and make sure to look into the future and see if you are going to be able to achieve that certain project without stressing too much. This can save both you, and the boss. It’s also important to know what to prioritize. Always do the things that you feel is most important first.

    I have seen many people trying to take on too many challenges and overload themselves with work. And what I see from them most of the time is half done work or them being too stressed. I have learned from experience and from others that you should prioritize the most important stuff first, and also to not overload yourself with too much work. Our minds want to tackle goals, but we have to take into realization that these goals cannot become a reality because it is simply too much stuff to do. I’m not saying to not strive to be the best, but what I am saying is to take a look at yourself and see if what you are setting yourself out to do is realistic or not.

  • These two lessons are very similar to what I have experienced at school. Especially regarding assignments that teachers grade by preference, such as writing or art, it’s incredibly important to pay attention to what they want to see. They’re the teacher, and they are trying to pass something specific onto you. If you think you know better or try to go your own way, you may end up missing a valid point and hurt your chances of success.

    Additionally, I’m currently juggling many different project right now between school work, my job, and my extra curricular activities. In each of these categories, I’ve had to take on responsibilities and also let some of them go. It’s difficult to excel in everything that you have available to you, so sometimes it’s better to do 80% of your potential work load at 100% quality instead of 100% of your work load at 80% quality.

  • This article showcases integral aspects of how to be a star employee. During my one internship, I did see the people immediately assume leadership roles in everything that the article would qualify as a “sexy project,” but the people referred to as star interns were the ones who finished every task that was correctly done to their boss’ liking. It is also important to add that bosses prefer to get questions and communicate in different ways. In my past internships and jobs, I make sure to ask how they prefer to get updates or questions. I’ve had some bosses who like constant communication, while others would prefer to discuss and get updates in weekly meetings. Whether a boss prefers a hands-on or laissez-faire approach, I completely agree that having a clear relationship and knowing a boss’ objective is an important key to career success.

  • This article is really spot on when it comes to working in a realistic way so as not to disappoint or mislead your boss and/or coworkers. Within the work I’ve done at internships, university and in the arts, I tend to try to go 100% in all of those fields. The problem is, there is only so much time in a day. To try to run at full capacity in all of these fields will potentially lead to letting down one’s colleagues, teachers and supervisors. The big lesson to come out of these circumstances for me is the idea of quality over quantity. Most people that I have collaborated with and worked for would rather me take care of the assignment ranked number one on their priority list rather than try to get five assignments done within a short window of time.

    The best example of this lesson that comes to mind is during my junior year of undergrad at the University of Connecticut. During that year I wrote for the college newspaper (The Daily Campus), pursued music and worked diligently in all of my classes. As I was nearing a breaking point of exhaustion trying to balance these tasks, I was able to ultimately reach an equilibrium once I set priorities within each of my pursuits. In other words, I made a plan to follow once obligations and expectations started to stack up. At the newspaper I took less stories and talked to my bosses about which ones they needed covered the most. I was not willing to let my work suffer, especially when my supervisors relied on top writing from a Staff Reporter in a paper that gets published to over 20,000 students and faculty. In school, I made sure to keep on track and prioritize time for the bigger exams/assignments and in music I learned to be upfront with my bandmates about what they could expect from me and followed through with every promise. Many times we forget that most bosses/supervisors, colleagues and collaborators want the best work from you and want to know you can follow through on your promises. The second trust goes out the window, your reputation and camaraderie with the people you work with deteriorates and takes a lot to repair. I learned to be proactive about avoiding a breaking point and to instead plan out what tasks take priority based on importance and due-date proximity.

  • Saying “no” has been a struggle for me in the past, but that is something I have been really working on over this last year. I used to be the kind of person who would say yes to every single thing I was asked because I want to help others. Now I realize that sometimes, it is the best thing to say no. Now I focus more on my reasons for the answer I give. If I want to say no to a project simply because I am tired, I say yes. If I realize I want to say no because I need to focus my energy on something more important, I say no.