1. Take on difficult assignments: If you mean to survive and thrive in a competitive office environment, establish yourself as the go-to person in your office, the individual who is willing to take on the most onerous tasks that your coworkers shrink from. It’s important to take an initiative at work; just be sure you don’t take on more than you can handle.
2. Seek feedback on your work. The best way to improve your work performance is to actively ask how you’re doing and then follow the advice you receive the next time around. Make sure you ask your colleagues as well as your boss for their input.
3. Be confident enough to ask questions. The most successful people I know spend more time asking questions of the people around them than they do answering them. When you ask a question, you gain another point of view; ask it several times, and you gain even more perspective and put yourself in a better position to make a knowledgeable decision.
4. Keep Learning: Fill in the blanks in your experience by increasing your knowledge base and stimulating your mind. It’s important to keep your skills sharp and gain an edge on your competition. Continue your education and keep abreast of the trends and developments shaping your world by reading as many newspapers and magazines as you can. Take the time to educate yourself outside of your industry by taking classes or attending seminars or lectures.
5. Adapt for your coworkers: Respect the methods and habits of people you work with. Be flexible. Learn to be a team player. We all go about our tasks in a variety of ways, but being effective and getting things done are what count in the end.
6. Have a positive mind-set: Never underestimate the power of enthusiasm in a workplace. Don’t complain when things don’t go your way. Take pride in the work you do and your passion will not go unnoticed.
7. Network at all levels. Make connections with everyone in the company, not just those higher up. This includes co-workers, mailroom employees, and interns. Get to know everyone who works in the office. Form lasting relationships that might serve you in the future.
8. Remember image matters: Your first impression is not your only impression. Maintain a professional image by continuing to be aware of your appearance, body language, and tone. This means being a consistently well-groomed and confident employee.
9. Manage your time well. Be punctual to work and meetings. Learn to prioritize; make to-do lists if necessary. Always meet project deadlines; work late or on the weekends if you have to. Be considerate of other employees; don’t waste your co-workers’ or your boss’s time.
10. Set the bar high. Dream big. Never settle for being ‘good enough.’ Be your toughest critic. Have high expectations for yourself and work hard to exceed them.