Your Work Attitude will Determine Your Altitude
CHRIS EGBU MBA, CMC,FCA
Some people complain about being stagnant in their career. Have you look at your work attitude? Research has shown that poor work ethics is correlated to career stagnation. How do the under-listed affect your career progression?
· listen actively
· hard working
· go the extra mile
· be polite and humble
· have initiative
· work under pressure
To get to the top you must also be able to listen actively. This means to hear something with thoughtful attention and give consideration to spoken and unspoken words including facial expression and body language. When you don't listen actively instead of hearing from your wife who said “Darling for some time now you have not bought me any cloth”, you may rather hear “Papa Okeke you don't love me anymore”, and you respond as “Okay, if you know I don't love you, you are free to go” and that starts a quarrel that may lead to fight. But if you listen you will react differently, and hear what your Partner has to say and why your Partner feels that way, and you will be able to explain your own side of the story, and there will be peace because both parties are listening. The same applies to work environment. You can avoid a lot of work related misunderstanding by listening actively. Today most people are thinking of a reply to give when somebody is talking, consequently they only get about 20% of what is said.
According to P. Batra and V.Batra stating the reason you must listen actively said “A higher position is disadvantageous to information. As you go higher and have more authority, you are likely to get the wrong information, unless you can make genuine efforts to get correct information.”
You must be hard working to get to the top of your career. You have to work hard to get enough, because the time is coming when you would not be able to work hard anymore. Today I can stand up for four to five hours making presentations without I getting tired and that is why I enjoy public speaking. For two weeks I traveled from Lagos to Abuja, Jos and Kaduna delivering lectures. But there will be a time that I wouldn't be able to do that anymore. So you have to work hard to get rich enough not to have to work hard again. So whatever it is you are doing you have to work hard to accomplish it while you still have the strength to do it. Now, if you fail to work hard when you should do so, then you will be working when others are resting. Go to some establishment and you will see some watchmen who are up to seventy years, at that age the man should be resting, but then he is working too hard, staying outside under cold, bitten by mosquitoes outside the cold, drenched by rain and hit by the sun during the day. At that age it is not funny to be so exposed. But if you have learnt to work hard when you have to and plan the next twenty years from now, by the time you are seventy you will only be going to see how your business is doing and relaxing or traveling around the world on vacation or making money by just talking to people, all these can be possible because you worked when you had to work. But today there those that will tell you that you don't have to work hard to get money and when they see those working hard in the office they start asking them if it is their father's or mother's work, insinuating that there is no need to work hard; that is a big lie and that attitude has to change. It has got to change if we must move forward. For those who adopt that attitude, when they eventually retire and establish their own business, they now transfer that same attitude to their business. There is the example of a retired civil servant who opened a shop, and after opening the shop he reports there in the morning and start reading newspapers while customers will be passing by and other traders who are alert will be calling all those people and selling to them from their own shop. The retired civil servant read newspapers while others are canvassing for customers because that is the attitude he learnt when he was working. It is hard for him to change it and after some time his business collapsed as some government owned companies had collapsed.
Television is the biggest mass programmer of modern society,” claims Edward Cornish, president of the World Future Society, and it is “far more important than schools, parents or the churches.” He contends that television viewers “are being programmed with the following beliefs: Everyone is entitled to a high standard of living regardless of how little work they do. Work is, in fact, largely unnecessary because all serious problems can be solved by some sponsor's product. Real effort must not go into one's job because that would interfere with a person having fun, and . . . play—having fun—is the purpose of life.”
Speaking at a special conference in Washington, D.C., Mr. Cornish stated that while television personalities are shown in work situations, they are actually only playing, doing “pretend work—loafing at their jobs.” The result, he says, is that “TV programs are creating a generation of people who expect a standard of living, without having to do much to achieve it,” being programmed “to believe that real effort and self-discipline are unnecessary.”
You should also learn to go the extra mile in your office. If for instance you are a Secretary and you are given a job to type, after typing take time to proofread. Do not be like those who will type, fail to go through it and hand it over to their boss. Then the boss quickly spots various mistakes made and start correcting them, by so doing the Secretary is wasting his boss time and attracts a bad impression. Proofread, go the extra mile, even when there are mistakes in what your boss has done, correct it, and he will appreciate it.
The next step to getting to the top of your career is that you should be polite and humble. Some people are Secretary to Director General, but they are very nasty and haughty more than the Director General. They treat people harshly and without respect but if the Director is there he gives people their respect more than the Secretary. Such an attitude does not help you to get to the top. It could be that that person you just maltreated is someone who can determine your future the next day, and you are very rude to him, and when they are doing the next downsizing the next day your name will be the first on the list.
You must also have initiative. In your annual appraisal forms, initiative is always included, although some people, especially in Public Sector have been untrained not to have initiative, but that shouldn't stop us from having our own initiative. Most memos in the public sector is originated with the opening remark “ I am directed to…” It is possible that many years of being directed can affect the level of initiative left. Nonetheless we all need enterprising spirit, drive, get-up-and-go, push to get things done fast and right. We all need to be intrapreneurs if we cannot be entrepreneurs. According to S.A.S Arua (2006)
Entrepreneurs are people who start their own business whilst Intrapreneurs are those who work their way to the top of existing companies”
You have to be able to work under pressure. This is very important because there is a general belief that the higher you go the cooler it becomes, but nowadays it appears the higher you go the hotter it becomes. Assuming you are the Finance Director of NEWWAYS PLC and the company has fixed its annual general meeting (AGM) in two months time. It has been advertised, notices of the AGM have gone out. If the Accounts is not ready before the AGM, heaven will not fall but it will be better you resign before that date of AGM than be thrown out of the window. Let's also assume you are the Special Assistant to the President on Media and Communication and have to prepare speech to be delivered at the Independence Day anniversary, if a day to the D-day the final edited copy is not ready heaven will stand but you may not stand. These examples underscore the fact that as get higher your ability to work under pressure is what will keep you.
Clued from Newways of Employee Empowerment By Chris Egbu