• Eve Arnold

5 Reasons You’re Not Winning at Work

Winning at work? Here’s how to turn it around.

Photo by Jesus Kiteque on Unsplash

Want to start winning at work?  Such a broad thought and idea but there are some lessons that apply across the board.

So what are they?


#1 You’re Not Communicating Clearly and/or Often Enough

No one likes to self-promote. If you’re an introvert it is quite likely it’s your worse nightmare. It’s hard to feel like it’s not humble bragging or throwing your work in people’s face and saying:

“look at me, tell me how great I am”

But communication is a game of numbers. How frequently and how long for will determine, in many ways, how well your boss thinks you are doing. There is no way around this. If you want to win at work you need to communicate. You need to do it often and you need to be proactive about it.

A few ideas on how:

  1. Schedule a weekly catch-up with your boss to discuss current work.

  2. Call boss to get action on blockers (call first and call early when you’ve spotted something that might cause a delay).

  3. Organise daily catch-up with the team where everyone talks about what they are doing. (Remember to write down a list of the stuff you’ve been doing it’s easy to forget).

#2 You’re Not Being Proactive Enough – Winning at Work

Everyone likes to have a problem solved. In fact, everyone likes to not have the problem in the first place. Trouble is, sometimes by communicating the problem we forget to think about a logical solution to the answer. We do a good job of communicating there is an issue (tick) but we do a rubbish job of thinking through the next steps. So if you’ve got a problem think two steps ahead… can you call someone to ask for what they’d do or can you have a look around to see if there is a solution that already exists?

That way when you are communicating back to stakeholders you can say:

“This week there was an issue with ‘x’, now I’ve spoken to ‘y’ and ‘z’ and they recommend doing ‘a’ or ‘b’. What are your thoughts?”

Instead of saying:

“This week there was an issue with ‘x’, I need help trying to solve it”.

#3 You’re Not Organised Enough

We like completed tasks. How great does it feel to tick things off the to-do list. We like to feel productive and as though we are adding value. It’s where a lot of joy for most people comes from in their work. Organisation is one of the quickest ways to get better at your job. What have you got coming up over the next few weeks? If you’ve got a meeting on Wednesday read the invite/agenda and do some prep on Tuesday. You’ve then got time to think through what you want to get out of the meeting. Even better you can rock up with some questions and you can feel prepared.

This way you tick two boxes.

  1. You ensure that you’ve got everything you need out the meeting.

  2. You seem to know what you’re talking about and people know you are engaged in the meeting.

To do list example (less is more) from CareerHealth

#4 You’re Not Building Relationships Deeply Enough – Winning at Work

Work is built on people. People are the blood supply to the beating heart of the business. Without people there is no business. So with that in mind, it’s important to build strong relationships in work. The more relationships you can build with solid foundations, the better you will get on in work. Remember that people move roles all the time and if you’ve got good relationships with people you can lean into those relationships. Ultimately it means work is more pleasurable and you get stuff done quicker.

Ways to build better relationship:

  1. Call, don’t ring — it’s more personal and in a lot of cases it’s a lot quicker.

  2. Don’t start every conversation off with “I need this” “Can you help me with that” — ask about their lives / family.

  3. Find common ground — us humans are quite different, however you’d be surprised at the common ground that can be found. Do they watch the same TV as you, enjoy gardening? What about coffee?

#5 You’re Not Aware of the Bigger Picture… Enough?

When you are focused on your job, it’s hard to look outside of it. You know what you need to deliver and when, that’s it right?


The next step in this little puzzle we call work, is being a step ahead of that. Understand why you are doing what you are doing. Where does this fit into the organisation as a whole? Are you trying to work towards a wider goal here, does your work fitter into a bigger plan / ambition? If it does find out what it is. That way when you are chipping away you can be attuned to the wider goal. This is good for one main reason:

You can identify improvements that will help reach the overall goal. And doing that will mean you are thinking like your boss. And that will impress.

#Growth #Self #Work #Life #Business

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