How did you learn the secrets to success at work?
More importantly, how did you learn what success could—or should—look like for you? Not for some imaginary sitcom figure or some pseudo-real life Kardashian?
I believe we decide what success is for ourselves by learning lessons from the people we love, respect and value. I hope you have one, if not many, of those people in your life. For me, one of those people is my dad.
(Of course, another is my mom, whose lessons I’ve shared before here. )
So in honor of Father’s Day, here are a dozen simple secrets for success at work from my own dad. As you think about success and the many ways to get there, maybe you’ll share one of these with the people who love, respect, and value you.
12 Simple Success Secrets from My Dad
1. When people do things that are hurtful and you don’t understand why, remember that their action is seldom about you. It’s most always about them. They may never have even thought about you while committing what you saw as their offense. Looking at the situation through that lens can save you a lot of heartache.
2. If you’re going to lead, you have an obligation to those you lead. Don’t underestimate that their jobs—and lives—can depend on your judgement and actions. Yes, you can choose lead without choosing to have an obligation to others, but Hitler and Stalin did that, too. Choose your actions carefully.
3. Being a little scared is not unhealthy. Some internal apprehensiveness can sharpen your thoughts, drive action, and generate a lot of healthy energy.
4. Never ask your boss what you should do before telling him or her your own thought-out solution. Once your boss tells you his/her thoughts, it’s not easy to carry out your own should your ideas differ.
5. Conversely, if you’re the boss, ask your team their opinion first. While you may already know the solution, you’re never going to get their true thoughts and creative ideas once you put your ideas on the table.
7. Nothing you say or write to anyone is guaranteed private. Know that anything you say or do today could be shared anywhere, and even your closest friends have loose lips at times.
8. Personal involvement in charitable, community, religious and civic activities often provide training and experience that your current workplace can’t offer. If you want to grow but can’t find out how to do it inside, make the time to get involved outside.
9. If you’ve been doing things the same way for several years, chances are you’re behind the times and don’t yet know it. Get out and go to trade shows, conferences, or visit other organizations to see how they’re doing things. Don’t work to justify your current way and be a victim of culture and procedural bias. Expect there’s a new way developing.
10. Just because someone has a broader or more prestigious education than yours doesn’t guarantee more analytical ability or better judgement. Everyone is capable of good judgement if they ask good questions and apply common sense to confusing situations.
11. As basic as it seems, learn to look around inside an organization. Look for dust on inventory shelves, repairs that have been left undone, people who are in the office but not really present. What’s it sound like, or smell like? Everything from your first step inside the door of an organization tells you about what’s happening in that company—and what’s not.
12. Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative. Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between. (Well, Johnny Mercer actually said that, but it’s still one of the most important lessons my dad and I use each day.)
YOUR TURN: What success secrets did you learn from your father, grandfather, or father-like person in your life? Tell us in the Comments below, or share on our Facebook page.