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Five ways to stay the best at your job

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It takes a considerable amount of effort to be the best, but the truth is your work does not end there. You need to take active steps to stay at the top of your game, which is going to take work. The following are five ways you can stay the best at your job.

Trips to conventions

Perhaps one of the most interesting and effective ways to stay on top of your game is to attend conventions. These are exposition events where different leaders within your industry get together and show off new ideas that may be coming into your industry. Knowing what is coming can help you make better decisions in your profession; it may even give you an edge over competitors.

Technology is an industry in which you see this as a necessity.  The most important tech announcements are rarely done through a press conference. It’s at these big tech conventions that announcements generate the biggest buzz. Those who are in attendance often are able to attend seminars and interact with products months before the public. This gives buyers an advantage over those who just read the news at home.

Reading professional publications

The next thing you may want to consider is reading publications linked to your industry. For example, those who are therapists and counselling psychologists may want to stay on top of peer-reviewed publications by other leading mental health professionals, this way you can expand your expertise and know updated language to use.

Certain fields of study like social sciences keep adapting and evolving. The things one learned in school a decade ago could be irrelevant in today’s landscape. It’s important to know the current atmosphere and to know what advancements have been done by other professionals so one does not give outdated ideas that have been now disproven. This is especially important for psychologists and therapists that serve underrepresented populations that may have not have enough representation in the past to correctly make them visible to society. Newer studies in psychology have been able to shed light on previously misunderstood conditions and populations. This is especially applicable to professions where one works with people. Since humans are such complex and adaptive individuals our understanding should continue to expand with humanity.

Get to class

No matter what, people are never going to know every single thing there is to know about the world, which is no different in any given profession. This is the reason you should consider taking additional classes to help expand your knowledge, which is especially important for professionals such as teachers.

Teachers are expected to be miracle workers. Manage large classes, update individualised lesson plans, grade, and manage paperwork. They discipline students, work alongside faculty and parents, plus so much more that goes unnoticed. It is of utmost importance for teachers to be able to manage the little time they have.

There are plenty of tools for business management positions to learn how to manage a team of employees. Similarly, classroom management materials will give you new ideas on ways to handle your classroom and lesson plans more effectively. Part of being an effective educators is being humble enough to know that you’re a student as well.

Online video learning

The internet has changed a lot of things, including the way knowledge is shared. Those who need to learn something relatively quickly may want to see video tutorials related to your profession. There are a number of videos out there that you can learn from depending on what you do; for example, hair stylists can learn new techniques and products to use and develop as they dye hair. Handy-people can learn how to fix updated appliances since these do tend to change every few years.

Graphic designers have to keep learning about trends, software, and keeping on top of the changing landscape. This is usually done through online video tutorials made by other professionals. This idea of a creative collective of professionals is a modern interpretation of scholars sharing what they’ve learned. This idea of shared knowledge has been able to help so many people update their knowledge and learn new skills. On the internet ideas become currency. Those with great ideas will find people who want to listen to them. That becomes an audience which companies want to pay to reach.  However, the information itself is usually free to the consumer, so learning through online tutorials is usually free.

Ask for feedback

It can be very uncomfortable for most people to receive professional feedback on their work. It can be stressful when you have a supervisor watching you as you are working. There is usually a sense of fear and there can be performance anxiety. However, if we really want to become the best at our job we need to be comfortable enough with our skills to know when we need to sharpen them.

Instead of waiting for an end of year review ask a supervisor or co-worker to observe your work. Receive constructive feedback. You can create your own grading rubric and give them specific things to look for. Have them grade you so you have an abstract number instead of a label that you will beat yourself up with. Keep emotions out of it. Remember, you won’t grow if you are comfortable being stagnant.

If you are not comfortable enough asking someone to grade you then an alternative can be for you to record yourself. Create a grading rubric and watch your recording. This exercise may be very uncomfortable, but you will be able to see blind spots about yourself. The point is never to beat yourself up, but rather to recognise our strengths and create a plan of action for improvement.

Clearly, there are a number of ways to expand your knowledge no matter your profession. Being the best takes true dedication, but that shouldn’t be too hard, especially if you love your profession. All you have to do is keep on educating yourself, and be patient with yourself because true growth requires a person to truly invest in the future.

How do you stay the best at your job? Share your experiences with us in the comments below.

Kara MastersonFive ways to stay the best at your job

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