How to be effective at work?

The quality of a company depends, to a large extent, on how effective its employees are. The higher the efficiency is, the better for an enterprise. This brings us to the question – how to increase our effectiveness in performing professional duties and,

The quality of a company depends, to a large extent, on how effective its employees are. The higher the efficiency is, the better for an enterprise. This brings us to the question – how to increase our effectiveness in performing professional duties and, generally speaking, how to be effective at work? Below, we provide the best possible methods of how to become effective in performing our professional tasks.

Information as a way to achieve effectiveness

Nowadays, every one of us is a member of an information society for which data is something very important. Thanks to appropriate information that rapidly reaches its destination, an enterprise can overtake its competition on the market, and, in consequence, achieve success. On the other hand, improper information, misleading data and false messages can lead to the downfall of even the largest of corporations which have a strong foothold on the market. Communication and information as such have become the tools of success for companies and institutions. Without communication, information proves to be useless because it cannot be passed on to the people who know how to manage it effectively. Effective communication is responsible, to a large extent, for the effectiveness of individual employees, regardless of their rank in a given company’s hierarchy. Communication should be relatively cheap, fast, and, most importantly, maximally effective.

However, is cheap information, which leads to low-cost communication, characterized by high quality? No, unfortunately. Most often, entrepreneurs have to pay a large sum of money in order to considerably increase the effectiveness of their company’s communication. It is not enough to invest in modern telecommunication systems. An employer has to invest in his or her employees, mainly in their training programs. Staff’s effectiveness at work can be significantly increased by organizing training sessions related to assertiveness, presentations, public speeches, negotiations, mediations, and interpersonal communication.

However, it is worth noting that good and effective communication should not be the main aim of an enterprise. A company’s main priority should be the effective exchange of data between its employees. At the same time, rapid and effective information is the most important step on a company’s path to success.

The effectiveness of a leader and the effectiveness of employees

We have to remember that the business world does not consist solely of numbers, indexes, and charts, but also of people with their feelings and emotions. A good and effective leader must have the ability to recognize the needs of his subordinates, their motivations and aspirations which stimulate them to work harder and with higher efficiency. In order to make our subordinates as committed to their work as possible and make them maximally effective, we have to inform them thoroughly. Effective communication makes them fully aware not only of the aim of their work, but also of the objective of the entire enterprise. We cannot allow for a situation in which leader-employee communication becomes a set of fixed patterns. Simple notes which are devoid of any emotions or pompous speeches of the marketing branch do not make people more effective overnight. Dry facts, statistics or analyses are not a source of inspiration. People are motivated to work more effectively by means of feelings and emotions.

Every team of workers has its leader who is to inspire all members of the group by his own example. There are many ways to achieve this inspiration, however, all of them must be related in a natural way to the personality of a leader. The intended effect, i.e., increased effectiveness of action, can only be achieved if the leader’s motives are sincere and true.

How to be an effective leader?

One has to be in close relations with his subordinates. He or she should talk openly with them, ask them about their opinions on a given matter, so that they feel engaged in the whole work. When we ask for their opinions we make them feel important; they know that their work and knowledge have a significant impact on the development of the company or a given project. An effective leader should be consistent in the way he manages his subordinates. He should create a code of conduct and make sure that the rules are followed and respected at all times. A strong and self-reliable team is very effective at completing any business undertakings. The main goal of an effective manager is to organize a flexible and determined team that aims at completing its objective as fast as possible with minimal risk involved.

Members of an effective team are responsible and they trust each other. Such a team works consistently and cooperatively; it follows the previously established pattern of action thanks to which it achieves overall success.

A few steps on how to be effective at work

Strong competition on the market encourages businessmen to seek the best methods of achieving high efficiency at work. Is there a one universal recipe for effectiveness? It is doubtful, as everything depends on a given situation.

Many employees work intensively for eight hours a day but are unable to cope with all the tasks assigned to them. A good organization of work and tasks, and good time management are essential to achieve a high level of effectiveness.

Step one – envisioning work

The first step on the way to increasing our effectiveness at work is to come up with the most precise vision of our work plan for a given day. A person has to be thoroughly aware of how his or her day at work should look like. This condition must be fulfilled in order to proceed to the modification of one’s professional life. In order to establish an ideal vision of work we have to know what tasks lay before us every day, how much time we need for our tasks, with whom we are going to cooperate, how to work without being interrupted, how much time can we devote to answering emails and phone calls, what phenomena contribute to creating an ideal day at work, and what emotions should accompany us at the end of such a day. Answers to such questions will help us envision an ideal day at work.

Step two – learning to be assertive

An effective employee should fulfill his or her tasks in an organized way in relation to a previously established schedule. One cannot simply spend time on completing tasks which pop-up suddenly and ignore those which are of highest priority. We have to be assertive when taking up new assignments. We have to be strong enough to say no if we know that some tasks may ruin our ideal day plan. At the same time, we have to recognize to whom or to what we can say no, and what situations or which people demand us to say yes. In order to make our work effective, it is crucial to learn to use the words yes and no. This skill also helps us in negotiating and reaching an agreement. Thanks to an assertive approach to work, we do not blindly accept everything that our coworkers ask for.

The most difficult thing is to reject something coming from our superior. We do not have to do that. However, it is advisable to negotiate the conditions of a given task. First of all, we have to ask for more information and a thorough clarification of the scope of the task. We also have to know how significant it is for our company. An employee should present how he or she perceives the priorities regarding the task. Lastly, we can ask if there is no one else who could complete the assignment instead of us, or is it possible to finish it at some other time.

Step three – consolidation of information

When at work, we are bombarded by huge amounts of information, out of which only 20% proves to be of use to us. Therefore, it is useful to organize our data in such a way as to have immediate access to useful information any time we need. This approach helps us to reject the things we do not need and group the elements which are truly valuable. How to achieve this? The most important thing is to clean up the information we store in traditional ways, on paper, or by electronic means. However, we have to be careful not to accidently dispose of some valuable information which might be of use to us later on. In order to make sure whether or not a given piece of information is valuable we should ask ourselves the following questions:

Is the information up-to-date?

Do we make us of it on a regular basis?

Is it somehow related to our present course of action?

Can it prove to be valuable in some future contacts or projects?

Is there an easy way to get a hold of the information from some external sources?

Is the storing of this information necessary from the point of view of law or our company’s policy?

Step four – organizing our email

There is no doubt that electronic mail significantly influenced the development of long-distance communication. It is swift and reliable, however, employees have to dig through hundreds of emails every day in order to find the most important ones. It takes time for an employee to browse through his or her emails – sometimes the whole process can last for two hours. Internet communication should not take that long because, in such a case, it decreases the effectiveness of a given employee. Therefore, we have to clearly state the amount of time we can devote to analyzing our email messages. Constant checking of our email is justified only when we wait for important information, or when email is an essential part of our work.

As we can see, certain communication patterns are the factors that have the biggest influence on making our work as effective as possible. It is also important to organize our plan of the day and establish some priorities. If a manager who is in charge of a group takes up an effective model of leadership, his or her subordinates also prove to work effectively. Furthermore, skillful time management is also an important skill. If we make good use of our time, the effectiveness of our work increases significantly. In consequence, we become effective workers who prove to be invaluable to the whole company.