BECOMING A BETTER PROFESSIONAL

“Be different. Be consistent. Be passionate. Have an eye for details. Keep on Learning.”

It’s too bad the world is crowded with average and mediocre mentors who groom same kinds. But you can break free if you once had lazy and incompetent bosses. These average and mediocre officers and managers have one thing in common. They don’t change. No. They won’t change. In fact, they never want to change.

It’s like, for example, they’ve been in sales for ten years, but they have one year experience which has been repeated for nine years. Too bad. There is however a better way to shine. It just requires energy and a lot more knowledge that should dovetail into performance.

I’d like to share with you 15 points you can apply to become better professional and a well-resourced Manager on your way to leadership development.

1. Make an extremely important high value telephone call on a daily basis. This shouldn’t be difficult. It should be a hobby. I won’t interfere in this. I’ll leave it to you to define what high-value is.

2. Do something that very few professionals would do on a daily basis. For example, think through your job Description on a daily basis. Make sure everything balances by close of each day. Whatever happens on the left hand side should be equal to whatever happens on the right hand side. In simple terms ensure that you are productive for the wage received for the day.

3. Show your gratitude to five different people on a daily basis. Look out for customers and employees. They’ll in turn give you more of their productivity and turnovers. Gratitude, is actually a gift that keeps on giving.

4. Look for new ideas on a daily basis from work related newspaper or Magazine on a daily basis, either before work or after work. It could be the Wall Street Journal as it pertains in USA, or in the case of Ghana, Business & Financial Times. Well, you don’t have to read the entire B&FT every day, but you should be looking for new ideas you can use to grow your business (systems, structures, processes, policies, principles, philosophies, products and even the people). Reading this newspaper will also enable you to become quite the conversationalist, which is a good thing to be if you’re in sales for example.

5. Practice the 60 minutes rule. Get to work an hour early and leave an hour late. This is optional. But it helps you gain control over your role. You are bound to get a good start. He who goes to the riverside early in the morning wouldn’t come home with dirty water- Yoruba proverb.

6. Practice a clean desk policy. Ensure 95% of the day’s tasks are always achieved before you close shop on a daily basis.

7. Dress for success. People are always watching. I have been part of a decision making team where one employee had an edge over the other because he dresses for success and also carries himself well. People judge how you appear. It matters. Have charisma. Expensive clothes look better, wear longer, and may require less dry-cleaning. Don’t over dress. Don’t underdress. Dress for success. Just look good.

8. Speak well. Package your speech well. People judge what you say and how you say it. STS golden rule. Learning to talk in the boardroom is a skill. Learn it. For example, a member who says that ‘I have a different view’ may be listened to, than a member who says ‘I disagree’ to a Board Chairman in a Board meeting. That’s what I mean. Learn every day and share every second. Learn to write. Use journals.

9. Customers are your source of livelihood. Respect them. In fact, without them you have no job. They employed you.

10. Stick to time. Manage time efficiently. You cannot resurrect dead hours and minutes. Not even a second. Make good use of time. Some say better late than never. But I say better never late. Resources are scarce. So is Time. Respect it.

11. Learn to function in a team. Be adaptable. You achieve greatness not by intelligence and not by competence. I believe it’s by adaptability. Adaptable people soar and never get weary. ‘It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change’. I didn’t say this. Charles Darwin said it and I buy into this 101%.

12. Emotional intelligence is central to Leadership Development as well as organizational performance. Leaders are not required to be only intelligent Analytically, Practically and Creatively. It is crucial to be intelligent, emotionally. Why? Because you manage emotions not necessarily people.

13. Be proactive. What’s the next move? You should be ahead of the pack. Read wide. Know more than peers. It’s beautiful. Be one step if not two steps ahead.

14. Improve self by day and learn to celebrate yourself when you meet targets. Just as Ronaldo celebrates when he scores. Messi and Maradona would take on four or even five men to score amazing goals. Their heroic exploits are infectious. Asamoah Gyan would dance to his goals and you would sometimes dance along. Learn to celebrate yourself when you do great things at the workplace. They say Rome was not built in a day but I can also tell you that a lot was done each day. Self-assessment first, every time. You should know who you are before you are ‘told’.

15. Leadership Development is a process and not a one-off event. Be effective and consistent with performance. Keep everything in the mix and advance within the loop. Just shine. Keep on shining. ‘Kadan kadan’ (little by little in Hausa). Be different. Be consistent. Be passionate. Have an eye for details. Keep on Learning. Be Professional.

For this is Leadership!

Author: Richard Kwarteng Ahenkorah

Principal Trainer, Eagle Knowledge Institute || Author: Your Journey To The Top

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