Adding value to an organization is why anyone is hired, promoted and kept long-term, so continually finding ways to add value to your employer can often yield a higher return on investment than returning to school for an advanced degree or volunteering to take on an unmanageable volume of work. The term “adding value” can be placed in the category of soft skills—those skills that may be difficult to measure but can be the key to personal and professional success. Showing up on time, being fully engaged, hitting deadlines and getting along with your coworkers is the minimum threshold when it comes to meeting workplace expectations, but doing better does not always mean doing more. Here are nine ways to boost your value without asking for more work:
1. Become more likable.
While we are encouraged from an early age to get good grades and increase our general life skills, the likeability factor of our personalities is often overlooked as a critical determinator of our long-term career success. Have you ever worked with someone who was continually tapped for the best projects to work on, received invitations to accompany the boss on golf trips or received a promotion while the obvious successor was passed up and you couldn’t figure out why? Chances are, they were highly likable.
Becoming more likable begins with small but consistent actions like smiling more and saying thank you more frequently and with sincerity. Other ways to increase your likeability include using positive body language to make others feel more welcome in your presence, being interested in the goals and aspirations of others and detaching from your smartphone and talking to people. One of the quickest ways to become more likable is to share your challenges, failures and lessons learned with others more than you share your successes because people like other people they can relate to.
2. Promote others rather than yourself.
While this may seem counterintuitive when it comes to increasing your value, the truth is, there is enough praise, money, work and friends to go around, and promoting others does not devalue you. Instead, think of it as putting credit in the bank of good karma. You may be surprised to see how your investment grows.
3. Embrace positivity.
Speak more positively about the company, your boss, your coworkers and the work you do. On the surface, it may appear that you are more liked or valued when people come to you for gossip or include you in the negative chatter at the water cooler, but that is only temporary and is not a relationship based on integrity and mutual growth. When you speak more positively, it will make others feel better about themselves and the work they do and they will regard you in a more positive light. People want to be around others that make them feel good and don’t drag them down.
4. Ask better questions.
The ability to ask better questions comes from your imagination, your curiosity about the work you do and your desire to solve the problems that surround you. Asking better questions helps you and the teams around you create better solutions and improve the work experience for all. Practice looking beyond the obvious and dig deeper to uncover the source of the pain points in front of you. Frame questions that encourage multiple correct answers rather than just the “right” one.
5. Get more creative.
This is about working smarter, not harder. Improving efficiencies and helping find ways around the mundane tasks that drag morale down can be a game-changer for you, your workmates and your boss. Problem-solving does not always need to involve creating more work, but rather creating a better solution.
6. Learn how to manage up more effectively.
Manage your boss. Specifically, manage the information they receive that helps them be consistently informed about what they cannot immediately see and prepares them to manage their boss more effectively. Focus on ways you can help your boss be more successful. This does not mean sucking up, but rather asking about and supporting their goals because, ultimately, their goals are your goals.
7. Be more intentional.
Consciously think about what you say, how you say it and when you say it. When budgeting your time, consider which activities reap the greatest reward versus the ones that merely create busy work. Begin delegating work activities that align with team member talents and professional goals instead of robotically rotating tasks just to keep the peace. Knowing why you make choices can strengthen your leadership muscle and help align your strategy with your goals.
8. Become a better listener.
Practice not interrupting others and learn to ask open-ended questions that allow people to feel seen and heard. Creating value for others can come in the form of strengthening their confidence or helping them find their voice. Listen to hear, not merely to respond.
9. Find your zone of genius.
Gay Hendricks, psychologist and author of the New York Times bestselling book The Big Leap, talks about the “zone of genius” and the importance of helping individuals identify what produces the highest ratio of abundance and satisfaction to the amount of time spent. In other words, what we do best.
Trying to get better at activities that you are not inherently good at can feel like rowing upstream, whereas when you are aligned in your zone of genius, your boat practically rows itself. Take the time to identify this area of greatness within yourself.
Once you pinpoint your zone of genius, ask for and focus on activities that allow you to work in this zone (exclusively if possible), thereby creating your highest quality work while providing you the greatest fulfillment. This can be a total game changer for you and everyone who benefits from the work you do.
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This article was originally posted on Forbes as part of their Coaches Council on October 10,2022. You can read the original article at https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbescoachescouncil/2022/10/10/nine-ways-to-boost-your-professional-value-without-asking-for-more-work/?sh=2d0eaa975519
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