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Ten Tips for Excelling at Work, Part 2

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Tina

Authored by Tina Kapp

Now on to the next five tips for excelling at work, which I hope will help you when starting out at a part-time job, an internship, or even in your long-term career.

6. Be nice.

This is a huge topic, and some aspects may seem obvious, but it covers everything from having good manners to being polite to the janitor or even that slightly annoying coworker. The way you treat others can affect the way people see you. The person who is polite and easy to work with ends up with more references, contacts, and friends.

It also hugely impacts your ability to do business. Dale Carnegie wrote a book called How to Win Friends and Influence People, showing how kindness and showing genuine interest in others has been the key to success for countless businesses. His book has a great collection of actual events from people who tried using kindness in business and were successful.

One of my favorites is about a businessman named Mr. Duvernoy, who wanted to be the bread supplier to a certain New York hotel. He tried to get an appointment to present his business to the manager every week for years! Talk about determination. Still, nothing worked, and the manager was simply not interested.

After learning about positive human relations, he decided to try to put it to the test and find out what the manager was personally interested in. He found out that the manager was part of a society called the “Hotel Greeters of America,” and that he was so passionate about it that he attended every convention and event, and even ran for its presidency.

The next time Mr. Duvernoy met this hotel manager, he brought up the topic of this society. The manager, who obviously loved the subject, talked to him for half an hour about it, singing its praises and recounting related stories. Mr. Duvernoy writes, “In the meantime, I had said nothing about bread. But a few days later, the steward of his hotel phoned me to come over with samples and prices. ‘I don’t know what you did to the old boy,’ the steward greeted me, ‘but he sure is sold on you!’”

What a response! It amazes me that after trying so hard to push his business, he got so much further by taking the time to find out what interested his potential buyer and showing a little sincere appreciation for his passion.

Carnegie said, “You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.”

7. Ask for feedback.

In one article I read, someone suggested once in awhile—whenever there are performance reviews, for instance—check in with your boss about how you’re doing and ask what you could improve. This shows him you’re focused and take your work seriously.

If we paraphrased Ephesians 6:5 for today it would say, “Employees, obey your earthly bosses with respect and with sincerity of heart, just as you would obey Christ.”1 The way you conduct yourself, your interactions with fellow coworkers and with your boss, says a lot about you as a person and will affect your sample as a Christian.

In the Bible the great men who were leaders in their own right still took time to ask God for feedback.

King David, for example, was always praying about ways he could improve. In Psalms he says, “Show me your ways, Lord, teach me your paths. Guide me in your truth and teach me.”2

Moses also checked in with the Lord regularly, “If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways so I may know you and continue to find favor with you.”3

8. Resist romance in the workplace.

This is not a hard-and-fast rule—although different companies have their own policies, so it’s important to do your homework—but in general it’s not recommended to find romance in the workplace.

Proverbs 4:25 says: “Let your eyes look directly forward, and your gaze be straight before you.”4

Hebrews 12:1 reminds us to “throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.”5 The apostle Paul said,

“I am single-minded: Forgetting the things that are behind and reaching out for the things that are ahead, with this goal in mind, I strive toward the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”6

Relationships and friendships are wonderful, but always keep your goals in mind and don’t let other things distract you.

9. Look professional.

Amber, a former intern at NBC News, wisely observed, “What if you get stuck in the elevator with the company’s CEO? Dress for that possibility every single day.” I even read somewhere that you should dress for the job you want!

In a previous podcast, I wrote about the motivational speaker and Wall Street broker Chris Gardner from the movie In Pursuit of Happyness who did exactly that. Even though he sometimes had to sleep on the streets or in homeless shelters while doing his internship, he made sure he always was as clean as possible and looked professional every day.

How you look and dress reflects either good or bad on the company or service you work for. Most jobs will let you know what the dress code should be, but if they don’t, you can get a good idea of what your company expects by taking cues from respected individuals at your work. Above all, two things will always reign supreme: Be clean and be neat. If you get those two things down, you’ll be off to a great start. Imagine a well-dressed person who smells bad and has dirty hair, or someone with stylish clothes that are all wrinkled or stained. Can you see how that would defeat the purpose? First start with neat and clean, and then add on your personal style and dress sense after that. You’ll be well on your way to looking and feeling professional.

This is even more important when at an interview, as people put a lot of weight on first impressions. If you present yourself well and show respect for the job opportunity or university you’re interviewing for, but your appearance says otherwise, you may not be taken seriously.

There aren’t a lot of stories in the Bible about how to dress; there are more about focusing on what’s inside a person, which I do agree is more important than what you wear. However, it does talk about how the outside can often be a reflection of what’s inside. If you see a tree with healthy fruit, you know it’s a good tree; if there’s one that bears sick or rotten fruit, it’s often because the tree isn’t good either.

10. Show appreciation.

If someone did their job well, say so. If someone helped you out, make sure to thank them. Saying nice things about others behind their back is a wonderful thing to do, because when it gets back to the person, it can mean more than just the nice things you say to them.

Often, we’re too busy to take a break, turn to the person we’re working with, and thank them for all they do. Kind words go a long way. Whether we show our appreciation face-to-face or write an email or a handwritten card, people will be touched that you thought of them.

With the fast pace of today’s world, it’s easy to forget the value of a few simple words. Just taking a few minutes out of your day to acknowledge those you work with, and their contributions, will go a long way in making them feel appreciated.

Dale Carnegie once wrote: “You don’t have to wait until you are ambassador to France or chairman of the Clambake Committee before you use this philosophy of appreciation. You can work magic with it almost every day.”7

Making your colleagues feel appreciated and important is the key to success and everyone working together happily. It may seem a small thing, but it gets big results.

So here’s a recap of these 10 tips to help you excel at work:

1. Volunteer for everything. 2. Resist romance.
3. Don’t gossip.
4. Say no to sick days.
5. Never do nothing.
6. Be nice.
7. Ask for feedback.
8. Get the details right.
9. Look professional.
10. Show appreciation.

In closing, think on the wise words of Calvin Coolidge (the 30th president of the United States): “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.”


Footnotes
1 Ephesians 6:5, paraphrased
2 Psalm 25:4-5 NIV
3 Exodus 33:13 NIV
4 English Standard Version
5 New International Version
6 Philippians 3:13 NET Bible
7 How to Win Friends and Influence People, by Dale Carnegie

Read by Stephen Larriva. Music by sindustry(CC). Copyright© 2016 by The Family International


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