We know poor management leads to unimpressive outcomes, yet when we think about our own job performance, whose responsibility is it? While preparing for a coaching session with a client recently, I found a good deal of reading on how managers can help others improve their job performance, but not much on how those very employees can improve their own job performance.
I found it odd…who is responsible for improving my job performance, if not ME?
If you want to learn how to improve your own performance at work, the vast majority of the resources available are aimed at managers and leaders. This leads me to ask: Where do we fit as employees? At what point am I responsible for my own job performance?
Let’s explore these questions in more detail and examine four ways you can improve your job performance by taking responsibility and ownership of your own personal development.
What is job performance?
First, let’s consider what job performance is. It is easy to reduce job performance to a single outcome, but it is actually a series of related, regular activities carried out to achieve certain goals.
The business dictionary defines job performance as the ‘work related activities expected of an employee and how well those activities were executed’.
These work-related tasks are multi-disciplinary and include both project-related activities and community actions. For example, meeting deadlines, building staff morale, interactions with colleagues, contributions to team achievements, networking and getting tasks right the first time.
We perform some tasks more consciously than others, and many of these actions are beyond those set out in our job description. In fact, the opportunity to discuss job performance and what it entails is rare within the workplace.
Community actions are those voluntary activities we undertake alongside project deliverables, such as helping to solve team problems and networking. Outside of the requirements specified in our job descriptions, these community activities help to drive the organization forward and contribute to the success of the team.
Why does job performance matter?
Does job performance really matter? You have a steady position and you’re getting paid – what’s the fuss? Research shows the benefits of improved job performance go much further than a good performance review and an annual pat on the back from your boss.
How you perform at work is important because it has the potential to drive your organization and your own well-being.
Contributing to the health of the entire workforce, job performance is central to the well-being of any organization. Numerous research studies explored on ckju.net, show staff performance ‘boosts the organizational climate through strengthening social networks… contributing to the culture and climate of the organization’.
Positive staff performance plays a key role in everything from employee well-being to productivity, strategic aims and job satisfaction.
Yet, the benefits go much further.
When you perform well at work, you place yourself in an advantageous position for career development. In the process, you also increase your self esteem, job satisfaction, earning potential and skill set for both professional and personal qualities.
With good staff morale, strong teams, greater job satisfaction and better opportunities for career advancement, it is difficult to see why you wouldn’t want to build your job performance.
How can I improve my job performance?
Here are 4 powerful ways to improve work performance:
- Time management
Time management matters. The capacity to be able to meet deadlines and achieve milestones on time is invaluable. To manage your time well, concentrate on doing one thing at a time. It is easy to get distracted by multi-tasking and finish the day having achieved little of what you set out to do.
Recognize the importance of organization. Prioritize your schedule of tasks at the beginning of the day, ensuring those that are urgent or worrying you the most are completed first.
We all know productivity drops in the afternoon, so leave emails and admin until later in the day. With lots of important jobs already completed by the afternoon, you’ll feel more satisfied, less stressed and more productive for the remainder of the day.
When we think about work performance, communication rarely makes the list, yet it is one of the most powerful skills you can exhibit in the workplace.
Your ability to listen, collaborate and respond to both written and verbal communication has a significant impact on your performance at work.
From managing conflict resolution to building trust and cooperating with colleagues, your communication skills have the power to make or break your career and working environment.
In fact, if it is not understood correctly, a desire to communicate can end up proving a distraction. Interacting with colleagues, keeping up with family demands, responding to team members, contributing to problem solving and sharing expertise can all create a stream of endless interruptions that ruin your flow.
Plan how you will spend your time each day. Allot realistic amounts of minutes and hours for the tasks you need to complete each day, including things like meetings with colleagues and urgent errands for family.
With a true reflection of how you need to spend the hours in your working day, you’ll be less likely to waste precious time when you know the knock-on effect it will have on all you want to achieve that day.
The biggest factor in poor job performance is boredom. Be open to new things. It may not be listed in your job description, but see the opportunity to try something different as a good thing.
A wider skill set will give you more creativity and greater freedom in your work life — important elements of job satisfaction.
Be open and honest with yourself. Set new goals based on what you think you could do better and how you can grow both personally and professionally. All of these skills are key contributors to more than just work performance, they are also the hallmarks of successful leadership.
Talk to your colleagues, ask them for feedback about your performance and be open to accept both positives and negatives.
Recognize the value of patience, empathy and honesty in the workplace. Aim to be flexible, transparent and supportive – then watch as your trajectory as a leader grows.
The Bottom Line
Don’t wait for someone else to help you improve your performance at work. Take charge of your own career by embracing these four ways you can improve your job performance and personal development. Check out the next post in this series to learn six more ways to improve your job performance as a leader.