In the professional services world, it sometimes feels like we are rewarded only for individual performance—the number of hours we work, or the number of clients we bring through the front door. But we forget that the way we interact and connect with our team can be the difference between good and amazing performance.
So, what can you do to improve your value in the firm and increase your contribution capital? Here are six suggestions to consider:
- Increase your trust bank. High-performing teams usually operate with a high level of trust, built over time. On an individual level, it starts on the first day of employment and continues throughout your career. Two simple, important ways to build trust are doing what you say you will do and knowing and living the firm’s core values. Increasing trust levels within your team will help create a bond that strengthens the group.
- Own your job. Partners in firms tell me they want individuals on the team to “own” their jobs. Ownership comes from within. It is a mindset that allows workers to feel that their jobs are a business for which they are thoroughly responsible. Workers make decisions and feel a passion for excellence within those tasks that show others they have pride in what they are doing.
- Say what is on your mind. This suggestion scares some workers because it can lead to statements that upset the leadership team. While understandable, that fear is detrimental because it prevents many amazing ideas from being communicated. Of course, not all ideas that are communicated will be accepted. But a rejected suggestion may still prompt a conversation that leads to a great idea.
- Know and use your unique abilities. Unique abilities are a combination of your personal talents, passions, and skills. Understanding them will help you understand the gifts that you bring to the team. You don’t have to be good at everything. But you also shouldn’t be “OK” at everything. You will have a much richer and happier life if you understand where your talents lie and apply those gifts to the firm’s objectives and projects.
- Commit to excellence.The key word in this statement is “commit.” Most professionals would say that they are in favor of excellence, but they often fall short of making that commitment. Commitment is a promise that you make to complete each task to the best of your ability and to continually improve. Commitment is a foundational philosophy that you live by and also could be one of your firm’s core values. Think about the value to the team if every individual has the same unwavering commitment to excellence.
- Declare a “no fear” attitude. Belief in yourself, your team, and your capabilities is imperative to team success. Stronger individuals will make a team stronger. Your words and actions should illustrate that you have no fear when it comes to straightforward communication, the ability to learn new tasks, and the ability to identify collaboration opportunities with anyone on the team. If you are fearful, fake it until you make it! Your confidence will grow with practice.
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Sandra Wiley is COO of Boomer Consulting in Manhattan, Kan., and is a popular speaker who addresses topics such as team building, talent development, and performance improvement.