Posted by Geoff Zodda, Managing Director at Glenmont Group
I don’t know if you had the chance to witness Lebron James and the unbelievable game he played vs. the Pacers in the Eastern Conference Semi’s yesterday, but I did. The whole sports world is seemingly waiting for Lebron and the Miami Heat to implode like they did last year in the NBA Finals. It wasn’t going to happen in Game 4, though. Nope. Instead, James did everything in his power to change the perception the public has about him in big games, pouring in 40 Points, snatching 18 Rebounds, and dishing 9 Assists. That’s a stat line comparable to the NBA legends Lebron is often measured against. It was the type of performance that quiets the same critics who expect him to play every game like one of the top five players of all time, which he will likely be considered someday. This was an extremely gutsy effort that led an entire team to a dramatic and crucial 4th quarter comeback that now has his team tied 2-2 in a 7-game series. But, let there be no doubt, Lebron James showed the global basketball community, the critics, and the non-believers alike, that he can shine the brightest in the biggest games, and he can use his unquestionably versatile talents to help achieve team goals when it counts the most. Just as Lebron is to professional basketball, the universe that encompasses law firms and corporations has their own standout leaders and superstars. Unfortunately, within the workplace, there are no best-of-seven playoff series, and you don’t have the benefit of a sold-out crowd, television and radio broadcasters, and video highlight reels to change the perception a company has of you. However, there are ways you can take your game to the next level, and be the employee that these organizations dream of.
Going the extra mile is a good start. Most individuals are happy with just doing their job to the best of their ability. Taking a proactive, team-oriented approach and pitching in to help others within your group, or even on projects that weren’t assigned to you, is a good way to gain positive recognition and eventually to be regarded as a leader.
Another method, especially for IT and legal professionals, is to get certifications and further training without asking your organization to sponsor it. I know this is a difficult one, but if you get further training in your specific area of expertise, without having your organization to pick up the bill, they will appreciate the lengths you’ll go to make yourself even better at your craft.
Last, but not least, when your manager is out of the office, take a leadership role. You don’t have to take charge of the group out of nowhere if it isn’t part of your designated responsibility, but lead by example. Don’t be a culprit of taking your foot off of the gas when your boss is out of the office. Use consistent performance as a way to show the team that you’re going to work just as hard or even harder when your manager doesn’t have his finger on the pulse of the group.