He looked at me in disbelief. As if I had told him he owed a million dollars in back taxes. I had just informed him he didn’t get the job. He believed with all his heart he was the best candidate. However, in the interview he inadvertently exposed the selfish way he approached his career and involvement with a team. He wasn’t going to be a fit for the position or the company. So what separates the people who grow their careers and get better jobs from those who don’t?
The secret to getting a better job probably isn’t what you expect. In my experience the secret comes from something Zig Ziglar taught:
“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help enough other people get what they want.” – Zig Ziglar
The secret is to make your career less about you and more about helping others succeed. When you help others succeed, in turn, you will find increasing levels of success. Everyone wants the person on their team who will help them get what they want. So how do you ensure your career is focused on aiding the success of others? Here are four suggestions:
1) Know your greatest strengths
Understand the value you bring to the table. What can you do with excellence? How can you best leverage your strengths to serve other people and help them achieve their goals? When you use those strengths for the betterment of your customers, co-workers, or leaders you will be noticed and rewarded.
2) Be genuinely interested in others
Ask your co-workers what their career goals are. Your peers, the people below you, and your manager. Ask about what they want to be doing in their career in the next three years. Then ask them how you can best help them get there. This may feel a bit awkward, but it will pay huge dividends to know what everyone around you is working toward. You can then position yourself as the catalyst to help them achieve their goals.
3) Have a positive attitude
When you need to complete a task or project chances are you have to rely on someone else to reach your goal. If you know someone is going to be difficult to work with you’re going to try everything you can to avoid working with them. Don’t be that difficult person. Be the person who others call on because they know you will always help as much as you can. Be responsive to their needs. Be the one who smiles a lot.
4) Actively seek solutions for others
Anticipate the needs of others at work beyond your own. Then provide the solution without them even asking. For example, connect people who you know could have a beneficial professional relationship. The goal is to do things that have no apparent direct benefit to you. Others will be amazed at how you consistently provide solutions for them. This will skyrocket your value to an organization and build your brand as an indispensable partner in success.
As I continued to provide feedback to the person who did not get the job he began to disagree and argue with me. He decided the feedback I provided was not valuable and was not in line with how he saw himself. Sadly, it confirmed our assessment that he was not the right fit for the job and would not have added to the success of that particular team. It was an unfortunate outcome to a conversation that could have really helped him achieve success in the future.
You and I have opportunities every day to focus on helping ourselves or helping others succeed. The beauty is when we focus on the latter we get the former.