12 Ways to Excel at Work and Fast-Track Your Career

A group of people working together and sitting at a table with a sheet of paper that says 'work smarter, not harder'

There’s a huge difference between going to work because you have to and going to work because you want to!

If you belong in the latter group of people, you’ll evidently want to succeed at work and develop yourself as an esteemed professional in order to move forward and progress in your career.

Whether you’re just starting off in your career or you’ve been a part of the workforce for a while, with the right mindset, you can always learn how to push yourself and stand out as a star employee.

If you’re wondering how to do just that, we’ll guide you with these top tips on how to excel in the workplace.

1. Use Time Wisely

No matter where you work, you’ll usually have eight hours a day to complete your tasks. This precious time you’re given should be used wisely; so instead of procrastinating for an hour and talking to your colleague about last night’s Love Island antics, get to grips with what you can realistically achieve in your working hour, and what can wait until the following day.

Now I’m not telling you to stop all your natter altogether (because let’s face it: the day would be a real drag), but rather that you should know when to draw the line and get stuck into the work you should be doing. If you’re super organised, you could even schedule five-minute breaks into your day around the tasks that need to be ticked off by the end of your day.

2. Make Yourself Irreplaceable

Are you the go-to person in times of crisis? If not, learn how to be and make yourself an irreplaceable part of the team. If you can work with your boss and the rest of your team, there’s only one way up the ladder for you!

You should learn how your organisation operates and work towards the end-goal of making the company more successful. Even if you happen to clash with a coworker, don’t let that get in the way of your target; you’re always going to be faced with hurdles – but what matters is how you’re able to overcome them and effectively show your true worth.

3. Be Professional at all Times

No matter what role you’re in or what job you do, it’s important to remain professional at all times. This means that even when you’re close to blowing your top off at the office’s Negative Nelly, you should either find a way to respond calmly or remove yourself from the situation altogether.

Dressing professionally also comes under this umbrella – as the saying goes: ‘dress for the job you want, not the one you’re in’. Indeed, research confirms that ‘professional attire increases abstract thinking and gives people a broader perspective’.

4. Go the Extra Mile

Going above and beyond what is expected of you is a sure-fire way to help you shine at work. Let’s say you work in a hotel and a guest has booked a stay for an important celebration. By going the extra mile and offering them a small complementary gift with a hand-written note, for example, you will make them happy.

This, in turn, will make your boss feel satisfied when the guest leaves a great review and returns to the hotel again in the future.

5. Have a Can-Do Attitude

Don’t know how to do something? That’s fine! With a positive attitude, you can learn in no time, effectively showing that you’re eager to get involved in all aspects of the organisation and help towards its success.

By having a can-do attitude, people will be more inclined to work with you, knowing that your positivity will benefit a project and increase the speed of its completion.

6. Act as a Role Model

With the right attitude and behaviour, you can become a great role model in no time. By constantly being positive, you can encourage your teammates to follow in your footsteps.

Your boss will also notice if you’re constantly following company guidelines and procedures, showing that you’re more than capable in a leadership position and placing you one step closer to a promotion.

7. Avoid Office Politics

It’s safe to say that any involvement in office politics will simply drag you down. Even if you agree on a negative statement or comment, don’t give in and partake in any form of gossip. This will only downgrade your standing with your boss and it will take your focus away from your work and onto menial matters that won’t help you improve in the workplace.

8. Be Part of the Solution

Be part of the solution, not the problem!

If you’re great at identifying problems, you should also be able to offer valuable solutions. And even if you’re not the one identifying the complications, strive to be a great problem-solver, offering quick and clear ways to resolve a specific issue.

9. Develop Your Skills

The longer you’re in a position, the more stagnant you become in your career and the more you slow down (or stop altogether) honing in on your professional skills. A common mistake many professional workers make.

To avoid this common pitfall, continue learning new industry trends and techniques. For example, you could move around the organisation to learn different aspects by taking up any opportunities for training and further additional education.

10. Be a Team Player

No matter how good you are at your job, you still need to be able to collaborate and work well within a team. If you can’t work well within a group of people, your chances of moving up the career ladder to supervise or manage said people are slim.

If you really want to check in on your teamworking skills, you could ask trusted colleagues for their honest feedback. And if you notice people go out of their way to avoid you in the corridors, it’s a tell-tale sign that you need to try harder to get to know them and work as part of the team.

11. Take Criticism on the Chin

One of the hardest things in the workplace is listening to criticism without reacting. After all, it’s challenging to accept failure when you’ve tried so hard to be perfect. But this acceptance will help you grow on a professional, as well as a personal, level.

Although some bosses are nit-pickers and point out irrelevant matters to simply boost their ego, most actually provide criticism to help you grow within the workplace. So, next time you get called in for a discussion, go in with a positive attitude and thank your manager for their feedback.

12. Get to Know Your Boss

Getting to know how your boss operates is one of the most important aspects of any job. You don’t have to be their best friend – heck, you don’t even have to like them! – but you should know how they like to run the business and the team.

For example, if your boss prefers all important communication to be carried out via email, be sure to do so. You might think that face-to-face interaction is better, but if you go above their head and do what you want, you’re only going to wind them up and effectively set yourself back in the workplace.

Being a good employee takes a lot of hard work and dedication to your job, but with these handy tips, you’ll know how to establish yourself as a professional and place yourself in line for future promotions.

Do you have any other handy tips to excel in the workplace? Join the conversation down below and let us know!