Career

The Secret To Getting Ahead At Work

We’ve all encountered someone in the workplace who seems to believe that success is about being better than others. Maybe someone took credit for one of your ideas or said something bad about you (or someone else) to your boss to make themselves look better.

What if more people realised that giving, rather than taking from others in the workplace creates an environment where more people can succeed? Knowledge is limitless and we are in a time where we are gaining more information than ever before. The traditional mindset of needing to compete in the workplace in order to be prosperous is changing, and now is the perfect time to help others in order to create better success for you.

Here are some ways to create a fruitful environment for you and your colleagues to get the most out of your career, while also helping others boost theirs.

Remove the ‘Taker’ and ‘Transactional’ Giving Mindset

Adam Grant, the author of Give and Take and a Ph.D. in Organizational Psychology, says that it’s important that we first start to understand the benefits of being a giver. “Takers,” he says, “only help others strategically, or ask favours expecting things in return. They put their interests above others.” People who tend to do favours for transactional purposes can tend to make people feel manipulated by their actions.

People who tend to do favours for transactional purposes can tend to make people feel manipulated by their actions.

Givers on the other hand, think more about sharing, collaborating and helping others to develop, while inspiring others to give and be on the lookout for ways to help others succeed. By removing the mindset of, ‘if you do something for me, I’ll do something for you,’ people can start to see the positive effects on success in the workplace.

“It’s tempting to reserve the giver label for larger-than-life heroes such as Mother Teresa or Mahatma Ghandi, but being a giver doesn’t require extraordinary acts of sacrifice. It just involves a focus on acting in the interest in others such as by giving help, providing mentoring, sharing credit or making connections for others, instead of trying to keep score,” says Grant. This creates a ripple effect in the workplace as people start to feel inspired to support others, knowing that everyone is out to help each other.

Sharing Contacts and Networking

We live in a world where it’s not what you know, but who you know. This has meant for a long time that people need to work hard to extend their networks and find important contacts to develop in their career. Understandably, many people feel hesitant to share this hard work. But can you imagine if you were able to access all the mentorship, contacts and connections you needed to by feeling comfortable to ask those around you? In the creative industries in particular, no one person can create the same artwork, take the same photograph or write the same words.

no one person can create the same artwork, take the same photograph or write the same words.

Catherine Bouris, the founder and administrator of the Young Australian Writer’s (YAW) Facebook group oversaw the group’s quick expansion to thousands of members – and it’s continuing to increase in size. After working at the The Vocal and writing about how young creatives can struggle, she was encouraged by editor Sheree Joseph to do something concrete. She then started a group where writers can come together to share editorial contacts and job opportunities.

“No one person can pitch to every outlet or respond to every call out,” Catherine told The Cusp, “so sharing contact and publication info is a great, easy way to support your fellow writers. It feels great to hear that someone got published or got a job because they saw it in YAW, and that feedback is what keeps me going!”

What the majority of people find is that by sharing networks, it broadens their own. The more people you know equals knowing more people. So get connecting!

The Power of Positivity and Support

We all know about the power of positivity in our own endeavours but have we spent much time thinking about how it has an effect on others around us? Thinking positively at work means that we are more inclined to take initiative to find answers and solutions rather than dwelling on situations or complications at work that may arise. Having the right attitude at work has a direct impact on those around you and how they behave has an effect on you.

Grace Veater is an Operations Administrations Officer, leading a large group of people in her office. “It has a huge impact if you’re positive towards your employees because they are bound to enjoy your presence, enjoy listening and work harder which will lead to more productive work in the office. Walking around with a negative attitude will have a direct impact on the work ethic of your colleagues.”

Having a good mindset and motivating others to succeed is like bursting a party popper full of positivity, minus the clean up of confetti. Even if sometimes you might not be feeling that optimistic, remember that it’s all in the mind and if you are known in your workplace for bringing people up, they will feel inclined and motivated to do the same for you – creating a contagious space where everyone feels confident to work at their very best.


Sam is a freelance writer passionate about sub-cultures, oddballs of the world and music. She runs a Melbourne music website and writers banter for VICE, The LAD Bible, and other websites. You can find her on Twitter at @hamsoward.