Cutting-Edge Leadership

The best in current leadership research and theory, from cultivating charisma to transforming your organization

5 Things You Can Do to Make Your Workday Better

What are some simple strategies to make your day, and help your career?

Has your job got you down? Do you feel like you are in a rut? Does your career progress seem stalled? Research in organizational psychology suggests that there are certain positive work behaviors that not only will help advance your career, but will also make you feel good about your job and yourself. 

1. Help Someone Else. There is research by psychologist Adam Grant that suggests that there is karma in the workplace. If you help out a coworker, the positive behavior tends to come back to you. Co-workers often reciprocate your helping by helping you. [Read more here]

2. Focus on Your Leadership Development. By focusing on your personal leadership development, you can develop the skills that will help you advance in your job. This can be either formal leadership training (e.g., certificate programs, workshops), or more informal, self-directed learning. Leadership skills are a valuable commodity in the workplace.

3. Set a Performance Goal. Goal setting works! By setting work-related goals that are ambitious and realistic, and by measuring goal attainment, you can improve your performance significantly. The sense of accomplishment can also make you feel better.

4. Celebrate a Small Win. Even celebrating small, or partial, attainment of work goals, can lead to higher levels of motivation and a sense of accomplishment. The model for “small wins” is video or on-line gaming, where you are motivated to try to reach the next level, or beat your former score. Apply this concept to your work, and you will indeed win. [Find out more about this motivational technique here].

5. Support Your Company or Leader. There is good evidence that engaging in positive work behaviors that go beyond your job description (what organizational psychologists call “Organizational Citizenship Behavior”) can distinguish you as a high-potential and loyal employee. This means such behaviors as coaching or mentoring a co-worker, talking positively about the company, volunteering, and “going the extra mile” can pay off and get you noticed for that next promotion. [Find out more about this here].

These research-supported concepts and behaviors can help you have a better workday and an awesome work career.

Follow me on Twitter:!/ronriggio


Ronald E. Riggio, Ph.D., is the Henry R. Kravis Professor of Leadership and Organizational Psychology at Claremont McKenna College.


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