As young career-driven individuals, one question we ask often is, “What areas of improvement should we consider?” While looking for ways to progress in our chosen careers and paths, we continuously seek new skills to learn. This is because we want to become better individuals capable of competing successfully in any important field in which we find ourselves.
However, as we grow older, we stop asking these questions. We forget that self-improvement is a lifestyle and not a destination. We need to remind ourselves that learning is not just for the young, and we should always endeavor to find new areas to develop in our lives.
As a team that cherishes the growth of every member, we asked ourselves, “What areas of improvement at work should we consider?” Also, we looked into the ways on how you can achieve them.
1. Learn from the Past
An important area for improvement can be on how well you learn from your past. It’s not always easy, but try to take cues from your mistakes and successes.
By looking at past events and how you reacted to them, you can understand the consequences of your actions. This will show you how to improve yourself and enable you to do better when faced with a similar scenario in the future. If you don’t learn from your history, you are bound to repeat the same mistakes or even fail to recognize what works and what doesn’t.
Either way, if you don’t frequently look into the past to draw valuable lessons and develop yourself, this is something you should consider doing.
2. Improve Your Self-Awareness
It’s easy to find faults in others, but it’s quite hard to identify your own flaws. As Bob Wall correctly says in his book Coaching or Emotional Intelligence, “self-awareness and self-control is the keystone of emotional intelligence.” Through this statement, he encourages employees to recognize their strengths as well as their weaknesses.
We tend to judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. However, we need to also pay attention to our own actions and faults. Only by doing this can we grow and become better individuals.
As you try new things, interact with people, and go about your daily life, make a mental note on how you react. How do you behave towards other people and situations? Also, make it a point to ask yourself, “If someone is behaving like me in this scenario, will I be happy or pissed?” Try to consider how you’d feel if someone else was acting exactly like you do. This will help you to put yourself in other people’s shoes. It’ll also let you to develop emotional intelligence, which may lead you towards becoming a better person.
3. Cultivate Self-Control
Self-awareness leads to improved self-control. When we look inwards and gain better understanding of ourselves, we can effectively manage how we react, no matter how tough the situation. For example, losing your temper when you’re upset is quite easy. However, behaving the same way in a work environment is something you definitely don’t want to do. Being self-aware and maintaining control of yourself and your emotions will help you avoid unnecessary problems and failures.
Make a mental note of your response to situations and try to do better next time.
4. Value the Guiding Principles
Every industry, organization, and business has guiding principles that can help its members make the right call in every scenario they face. You need to remember that these are not hard rules or “master key” solutions that can automatically get you out of every problem. However, they’re guidelines that can help in your decision-making process, enabling you to find what’s right for you in any given situation. By following laid down guidelines and developing some of your own, you are well on your way to making the right choices easily.
5. Listen More
Of course, any areas of improvement list will not be complete without the art of active listening. It is important to keep in mind that listening is different from hearing. Anyone with ears and a functioning auditory system can hear. However, listening is about making a conscious and active effort to understand what a person is saying or the message they’re trying to pass across. It’s about taking into account the existing barriers and disturbances that can distort the actual meaning of a message.
Don’t just hear, listen!
6. Improve the Way you Communicate
Talking is not the same as communicating. You can say a thousand words without conversing or passing any relevant information. This is a challenge most people struggle with at work. You should always try to be clear and concise in your language. This plays a vital role in your professional success as well as other aspects of your life.
A lot of employees find it difficult to get their points across, either because of anxiety or because they’re easily distracted. However, when it comes to making the best of yourself, time is of the essence. Therefore, you should develop your skills in the art of conversing without getting anxious or distracted. One way to achieve this easily is by thinking of what you want to say ahead of time.
7. Develop Your Focus
Even the best of us has wasted time doing something irrelevant at one point or the other. While this is not a bad thing in itself, making lack of focus a habithabitual distracted behavior is dangerous. It’ll eventually cause harm to you and your career. This is why you should work on your focus and ensure that you don’t give in to distractions too often.
To improve your focusing skills, we recommend paying attention to a single task at a time. Avoid the temptation to multitask.
8. Plan Carefully
It goes without saying that to be great in any field, you need to be good at making plans and sticking to them. Adequate organization saves you resources such as time, money, and effort. Many employees struggle with thinking ahead and making plans for the future.
To make this easier, make a note of the things that you need to achieve. By having a to-do list for the week, month, and year, you can easily organize a schedule that you can follow. It also helps you draw up ways to achieve your set goals. This is one great technique to increase your productivity, get the most out of your day, and adequately manage your time. Time management is vital in self-improvement.
9. Understand Other People’s Points of View
Being in a professional environment means you’ll be working with people of different backgrounds, upbringing, education, and culture. This diversity means you have to acknowledge that everyone is different, and that’s okay. To foster a healthy work environment and build great relationships, you should make a conscious effort to understand everyone’s point of view.
You may not agree with their perspective. Even so, understanding their opinions and treating them with respect is one way to learn new things and grow as an individual.
10. Assess Your Environment
Having the ability to assess your environment is an emotional intelligence skill that is hard to master. However, it is not impossible, and with the right mindset, you can achieve this. If you want to become better at noticing what’s going on around you, you have to invest time and energy in learning about yourself. You also need to learn about other people. To achieve this, you need to pay attention to how the people around you behave and react to certain stimuli. Once you can understand these behaviors, you will recognize a pattern. You’ll then begin to see that people with similar characteristics react the same in similar situations.
This skill helps you read people better and know how to communicate with them to reach positive results.
11. Accept Feedback
It’s not easy to receive feedback, especially when it’s about yourself or about something you put your heart and soul into. However, developing a mindset that can handle feedback will make you a better and more rounded individual.
Accepting feedback doesn’t stop at listening; it also means incorporating what you were told into your work process. By understanding the “why” behind the critique and comprehending the meaning behind the message, you’ll easily identify your strengths and weaknesses. This way, you can know what to improve and what to remove. Self-improvement is all about becoming better at our strengths and eliminating or diminishing our weaknesses.
12. Share Feedback
Yes, this is not as easy as it sounds. It can be complicated trying to figure out how to give your colleague or manager feedback that they can use. To achieve this, you need to learn how to provide constructive criticism.
Constructive feedback is one that is clear, concise, and not too harsh. Be sure to seek permission from the individual before dropping your comment.
13. Use Newly Acquired Skills
You’ve learned a new skill, but you don’t know how to apply it in your current work position. Perhaps it’s a skill on using a recently released software. However, while you may feel there’s no use for this know-how, a closer look might change your mind.
Think outside the box and be innovative. You’ll be surprised to discover there are ways in which you can use this new skill to improve efficiency and effectiveness in your work.
14. Learn to Make Policies
You might not be in a position where you are likely to draft policies or even help to improve existing ones. However, learning how to make them is crucial.
It is very likely that you don’t plan to remain in your current position for too long, which means you might need this skill later. Having it as part of your self-development routine might come in handy sooner than you think.
15. Collaborate with Teammates
Working in an environment with opposing views can be quite difficult to blend into. However, being able to understand this diversity can bring amazing results. By working as a team and sharing ideas, you can do great things!
16. Practice Decision-Making
You may be in a position that only requires you to follow orders while others make the difficult decisions. However, it’s never too early to start analyzing your actions and their consequences. Also, try to consider what you’d do if you were making the top calls. This way, you can begin to make better decisions, no matter the post you find yourself. It also prepares you for when you are in a position that requires you to make hard choices.
17. Stay Organized
Designating a place for everything helps you to stay productive. You can make a timetable to schedule various activities. In addition, organize your tools and create specific locations for them. For example, knowing where you keep your pen or wristwatch means you don’t have to waste time in the morning looking for them. It also means that your tools will always be at your disposal when you need them.
18. Manage Your Time
Sometimes, it can feel like your day doesn’t have enough hours in it to help you accomplish your goals. This is usually because of poor time management. One way to manage your time adequately is by using time trackers. By monitoring your time and activity, you can better understand how you use your time. This allows you to know what you spend most of your time on. You can then figure out how to improve in those areas for increased productivity. These helpful tools help you plan your day and efficiently allocate time to your goals.
19. Set SMART Goals
SMART stands for Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Relative, and Time-based. If you’re having a hard time setting goals and achieving them, you should focus on these features. Set goals that have SMART characteristics.
We hope this list will help you become a better individual and even grow your team. Share this with your colleagues and work together towards helping each other become the best version of yourselves.