Look around. Who do you and your coworkers depend on at work to always get things done right? Is that you? Shouldn’t it be?
It doesn’t matter whether we’re the boss, an individual contributor, or the owner. We each have real work to do that counts.
Sometimes that work involves solving problems using our heads and then mobilizing others to implement it. Other times it’s about rolling up our sleeves and putting muscle into a task that makes us sweat, literally or figuratively.
Tap the pro in you.
Each of us brings our own set of personal work standards to our jobs. Our attitudes about work drive the way we perform, whether or not someone’s watching.
Our work ethic is cultivated throughout our lives and is tested in every new job and by every new boss.
We all know coworkers and supervisors who are:
- slackers, doing the minimum to keep their jobs
- side-steppers, dodging work they don’t like
- manipulators, taking credit for the work of others
We also know real professionals whose personal performance standards never waiver. There are the:
- grinders who won’t abandon a job until it is completed to their satisfaction
- risk-takers who are the first to step forward to tackle a difficult problem
- innovators who are determined to always find a better way to get the work done
The pros “are” the work they produce. It becomes a reflection of who they are. Achieving to their own standard trumps recognition from anyone else. It’s personal.
Sometimes we get lost in the drama, vagaries, and gear-shifting typical in offices. We need to cut through the clutter and distractions, so we can get our work done like the pros we are.
Revere the heavy lifting.
The “players” generally just participate in the game while the pros own it.
Every employee and supervisor needs to know what is expected of them. Then they need to commit to meeting or exceeding those expectations.
Recently, I contracted with ProFence to replace 1,270 feet of old four-board fence at my farm. A crew of four men between the ages of 22 and 34 did the job in three days.
This task required:
- loading and hauling nearly a mile of fence boards and poles
- transporting and operating heavy equipment
- removing the old fence and taking it away
- positioning and setting the poles
- measuring, leveling, and nailing the boards
- hanging 10 gates
Each man was a trained professional in commercial trucking, heavy equipment operation, and/or fence construction. They worked as a team, clearly understanding their individual and often shifting role assignments, as well as standards of quality operation.
- crossed-trained in their jobs and work methods
- focused on execution and problem solving
- effective communicators with each other and me, always taking time to answer my questions patiently and with eye contact
- committed to safety and respect for my property
- good-humored, even in the scorching heat
The crew worked with its own unique rhythm perfectly aligned to the demands of the work. It was beautiful to watch them work and see the artistry behind the product they were creating.
Every man pulled his own weight, lightening the load for everyone else.
Pulling your weight
It doesn’t matter whether the jobs we have require us to work in the elements or at a desk. Work is work and our willingness to do what we know is our best job comes only from within.
Everyone knows when we aren’t pulling our weight and they often know why. We may unable or unwilling, frustrated or afraid, resentful or discouraged.
That’s why it’s important to do what it takes to be a pro. Remember, it’s your job. While you have it, you own it, so treat it like a prized possession and give it your all. By fortifying your work ethic and capabilities, your job satisfaction and career will expand.
Thanks to Vern, Lester (the foreman), Josh, Gene, and Keith at ProFence for their fine example of what a pro knows and does.