Not to brag, but throughout 2020 quite a few memorable pieces of advice have been linked and shared in the Weekly Reads. With the year wrapping up, I thought I would put together the list of the best career advice I’ve read (and shared) throughout the year. Below are the pieces of career advice that impacted me most and that I think everyone should read, regardles of where they are in their career. Feel free to also share this article with any young people around you, it’s a great way to share the knowledge!
Top Career Advice I’ve Read in 2020
Getting ahead at work
Lifelong tips for making it in your career. I could not agree more with these tips to get ahead in your career, especially the one about putting in the extra effort. It can be tough but there is no better way to show that you are engaged and you also deliver quality work. I’ve been living by this tip in my career so far and was definitely always able to reap the benefits – putting in the work allows you to build a reputation for yourself that will benefit you in many ways. I’ve spoken many times about it and can only encourage everyone to also do so.
Five surefire ways to get promoted. I am always happy to learn more tips about getting ahead at work. I am ambitious and learning is part of the journey, but I also love how more and more available this information is for everyone who needs it. The biggest career myth out there must be that you can just sit quietly, do a good job and that your work will speak for itself. Never heard a bigger lie. At the end of the day, securing promotions is a matter of office politics, whether you like it or not. So, if you learn this quickly and you know you want to move up, make sure you advocate for yourself and both you and your work are noticed. Self-promotion is not always easy, nor it feels authentic many times, but let me tell you – it’s essential. Have a read here if you want to read some of my tips on how to get ahead at work and also how to advocate for your work while staying true to yourself.
Salary negotiation. I can’t write this without first encouraging everyone reading this to push for a salary increase. It is not just about the outcome and getting more money (which is absolutely great), it is about the experience and the feeling of advocating for yourself. While it might feel challenging, I can tell you, there is no better feeling in the entire world than that of knowing you are able to stand up for yourself. Here are some tips to negotiate the salary you actually deserve or how to negotiate a job offer.
Communication & Productivity
Improving your communication skills. For me, good communication in the workplace is essential. If you have good communication skills, I would go as far as to say that you are sorted – because good communication already means you have the ability to discern what is important from what is not; what is to be communicated and what not, to whom, when and how. Basically, you understand how to get the work done, who it impacts and so on. If you are there, congrats, if not, and your communication skills still need some polishing, fear not, here are some tips on how you can improve them.
Thoughts on apologizing at work. Not too long ago, I was talking with my team about apologizing at work and my philosophy around it. I am the type of person conscious of when I apologize – at least in a work environment. Whether I am a product of the numerous business articles I’ve read or a natural, at this point, I think I’ll never know it. But what I do know is that I don’t apologize in e-mails or calls with my colleagues or clients unless the situation really requires it and I have really messed up – then, I like to own it and move on. How do you approach this? Do you struggle with over-apologizing? My friend Komal shared a few really good tips on how to stop apologizing at work.
Strategies for getting more done in less time. With productivity levels being the highest they’ve ever been, we all have so much more on our plates. Here are five strategies to get more done in less time – a really succinct and actionable article from HBR. I love the idea of developing templates and checklists as well as reusing previous material. You might always be compelled to do your absolute best, but sometimes good enough is enough and repurposing something you’ve already done is a great time and energy saver.
Giving compassionate yet constructive feedback. Giving feedback is a challenge for many people. In my perspective, the ability to give compassionate yet constructive feedback is a unique and highly effective way of building good teams and relationships at work. As the giving party it shows that you care, but it also requires both parties to be vulnerable and it helps both of them grow one way or another. NY Times brings us some tips on how to give compasionate yet constructive feedback.
“… it’s when we combine directness and compassion that we create a culture in which people can truly thrive at work.”
Transitioning from peer to manager. Lessons for the new managers out there. Until you go through it yourself, nothing can truly get you in the mindset for going from peer to manager. However, I am a big fan of preparation so if you are already or about to be a new manager, reading one more article will never hurt.
The leader as a coach. Loved reading this piece from HBR on how manager roles in companies are evolving into coaching roles. This entails transitioning from providing answers to asking questions, supporting people instead of judging them, facilitating their development instead of dictating what has to be done. It’s all about “ask and listen” not “tell and sell” and I personally think the coaching element is a natural transition for a lot of managers but that also depends on the style. Very relevant read and filled with actionable advice. Highly recommended.
Twenty-first-century managers simply don’t (and can’t!) have all the right answers. To cope with this new reality, companies are moving away from traditional command-and-control practices and toward something very different: a model in which managers give support and guidance rather than instructions, and employees learn how to adapt to constantly changing environments in ways that unleash fresh energy, innovation, and commitment.
Thank you for reading and let me know which is the best piece of career advice you’ve read or been given this year!