If you think someone or something other than yourself is responsible for your happiness or success, I’d guess you’re not that happy or successful.” So says the best-selling author Rob Liano.
One of the most dangerous mistakes you can make is unknowingly getting in the way of your own success through self-defeating thought patterns. These can manifest themselves through detrimental work attitudes, inappropriate expectations, poor self-esteem or misplaced preconceptions.
It’s a hard pill to swallow, but once you accept that you may be unwittingly hindering your own growth, you can choose to break the pattern and thrive.
Accountability is not just a mindset – it’s also a skill set that everyone can learn. Here is a five-step plan to help you become accountable for your own success:
1. Be accountable to yourself and then your employer
Accountability comes from within. At work do not say: “It’s not in my job description”. If you are presented with opportunities to innovate and improve elements outside of your actual job description and in ways that benefit the whole organisation, then get the support and buy-in of your manager and adapt your activities accordingly. There is little that frustrates a manager more than employees who hide behind their job description as an excuse for sloth, inertia and lacklustre productivity. Whatever your role, it is safe to assume that you are encouraged, if not expected, to augment it with tasks and improvements that increase your productivity.
2. Take the initiative
While ideally every employer would have the budget to implement formal customised training programmes for each employee, in reality training processes and procedures vary from one employer to the next. Successful professionals have taken it upon themselves to ask for and get the kind of training they need simply by taking the initiative. In today’s networked world it has never been easier to learn and expand know-how and ideas, whether it is by formal classes and courses provided by educational institutes, online courses or independent reading.
3. Put in the extra effort
Whether it’s extra hours or extra effort to learn, produce and grow, you need to be willing to do what it takes to reach targets and achieve your goals. This is not to say epically long work days are sustainable or desirable, but professionals who lack the flexibility to do what it takes to succeed will be disappointed. We all know professionals with amazing “can do” attitudes who put in the sweat and extra hours when needed without complaining. The last thing any organisation wants in its ranks are team members with a poor work ethic or contagious negative attitudes to dull their fire and extinguish their spark.
4. Seek help
Instead of hiding behind outdated tools and budgets, why not try to make a well-thought-out and well-defined business case for changing that resource pool. Managers rarely allocate increased budgets or resources to units or employees who have been wasteful or unproductive with what they have.
5. Empower yourself and others
There is no excuse for personal baggage in the workplace, so you are expected to approach all relationships in a purely professional context, showing respect and attention to the organisation’s objectives and goals. Professionals who refer to teams, managers and clients negatively are invariably feared and shunned by their peers. Learn to empower yourself and others around you, and try to see the beauty diversity along with the learning that comes from a varied workplace. The “victim” mentality is only detrimental to career growth, so ask yourself if you really are being overlooked or simply unhappy with life in general. If you really are being treated unfairly then take the bull by the horn and try to proactively get the appreciation you deserve.
Lama Ataya heads the marketing department at the Middle East’s leading jobs site Bayt.com
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