Superstar employees breakthrough and perform better than others. Why? We’ve covered five of eleven action steps in part  1 and 2 of this series on how to impress your boss, and dramatically enhance your work performance. This is the final article in the series. The six powerful action steps discussed here will help you win at work, and gain more job satisfaction and career success. Read them, apply them and be consistent. You will find that you begin to stand out and rise above the crowd.

1. Dress professionally.
The adage, “Dress for the job you want, not the job you have” is a good rule of thumb. Wear the types of things that the employees two or three steps up the ladder from you are wearing. If that isn’t appropriate for some reason, make sure whatever you choose to wear is clean, neat, and that it does not draw negative attention in any way. Your appearance speaks to your desire and capability to take on bigger responsibility for your job. Think bigger, look the part and you’ll stand out in a positive way.

2. Look for ways to save the company money or help make more money.
Companies are in business to make money; it’s as simple as that. They do so in many ways, but the ability to get new customers and form long-term, loyal relationships is extremely important. The leadership of your organization is always looking for ways to sell more, cut costs and make customers happy. Unfortunately, the higher they get into the ranks of management of the organization, the more removed they are from the day-to-day activities in the business. They miss things. Some procedures that should have been dropped or changed years ago continue, not because they add value, but because “that’s the way it’s always been done.” Similarly, managers often don’t see opportunities to satisfy customers that may appear to be right in front of their eyes. Your constant search for these opportunities and your willingness to bring them forward as ideas for improvement can significantly help your transformation into the ranks of SuperSTARdom.

3. Form an opinion and share it.
As a result of your efforts to doing the action steps describe so far, you may very well be asked for your opinion more frequently. It is to your benefit to offer it even if it’s in disagreement to one that others, including your boss, hold. If you can back it up with sound reasoning and facts, you will increase your credibility and value as an employee. Confident, reason-based opinions even in disagreement have value especially if you can accept that you still may be overruled. Your ability to accept a different direction and avoid argument will win you points as you demonstrate your value and reasoning capabilities.

4. Come prepared.
Come prepared to do your job. Manage your attitude, and prepare yourself with the proper tools, knowledge and information needed to perform without delay. Thinking about the expectations for each task and meeting you participate in gives you the opportunity to develop the mindset and to plan and prepare to meet those expectations. Consistent preparation and successful task accomplishment results in achievement and advancement, just remember to always be open to constructive feedback from others and additional training or education.

5. Take the initiative.
This is a logical extension of several previous rules of thumb. As we discussed previously, many of your fellow employees look for ways to minimize effort and avoid unpleasant activity. If you see something that needs to be done, move to do it. Seek responsibility and take on and complete difficult tasks routinely, without complaint. If you take on challenges that others avoid, and you solve problems without calling for help from your supervisor or manager, you demonstrate that you are the kind of employee who is capable to take on and accomplish more. The more you do, the more you’ll be capable of doing. It is very rare that an employee is faulted or looked down upon for contributing more than expected or handling more difficult problems than others in that job. Take initiative and it will be rewarded.

6. Stay marketable.
The final recommendation we have for you in your quest for SuperSTAR employee status is this: manage your own career. Seek and maintain your skill level and ability to produce value and don’t depend on others to take care of your career. There was a time when, if you worked hard, your company would give you a career for a lifetime, and generally would take care of you as a member of the family. Today, we are all, more or less “independent agents.” In some situations you will find that as long as you grow and produce, you will be rewarded and given the opportunity to grow with your organization. In some cases, however, the company will gladly accept the gift of your efforts and increasing value, but will not reward you sufficiently in exchange for the value you bring. In those cases, you’re better off to move on to another organization that recognizes your value. There’s a fine line today between moving when opportunity presents itself and the perception that you are a “job hopper.” In the past, it was believed that short employment stints, say 5 years or less, was a reflection that you were unstable and couldn’t be depended upon. Today, a 5-year stay at a company may be a reflection that you’ve stayed too long. It is appropriate to keep your resume up-to-date continuously, and if you think you’re being underpaid, test the market. You don’t have to leave, but you’ll always have the option if you take charge of your own career.

In addition to all of these steps, keep learning. Stay abreast with what’s happening in your career field. Read books, attend all the training or education you can and even surf the Internet for ideas. No matter what, be a student of the game. If you increase your learning you will increase your earning and career advancement opportunities. Bottom line: do a good job, add value, manage your own growth and marketability and be a superstar employee wherever you choose to contribute. Finally, internalize these words from Napoleon Hill, “Effort only fully releases its reward after a person refuses to quit.”

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