From C Player to A Player

As an admin, you’re not going to get very far in your career if you don’t give a darn about growing your skills and knowledge. Seriously. If your skill level stays the same, if you are not showing that you haven’t learned anything new, or if you are not adding any value, do you really think managers are going to perceive you as an A player? They won’t. You’ll be forever in their minds as one of their C players.

What can you do to rise above the C group? Consider this:

Become the sponge. Read as much as you can—and remember what you’ve read. Attend as many educational opportunities as you can—and apply what you’ve learned.

Share the knowledge. Teach others what you know/what you’ve learned—and don’t be stingy about sharing. Present a lunch-and-learn. Post YouTube clips. Share your (work-related) blog. Create a podcast. Write an article for your in-house publication.

Get involved. Volunteer—start the first in-house blog or newsletter, or create the company’s Facebook page. Speak up—tell someone you want to be the lead for the committee or task force. Contribute—complete the online comment form, or write down suggestions/recommendations and drop them in the suggestion box. Become a mentor. Join a professional organization. If you work in the architecture, engineering, or construction (and related fields) industry—join the Society for Design Administration. If you are an admin in any other industry—the International Association of Administrative Professionals is a good one.

Keep your mouth shut. Stop gossiping. Don’t badmouth the firm. Quit whining. Be mindful of how much time you spend chatting during work. Quit saying “But that’s the way we’ve always done that.”

Check your emotional intelligence. Get control of your emotions. Check your attitude. Get in the habit of not allowing others to bring out the devil in you. Don’t take things personally (remember, it’s usually about the process, not the person). Don’t respond in kind (unless, of course, it’s kindness to begin with).

Be willing to change. Inflexibility can kill a career. Be open to feedback. If you get suitable feedback, act on it. Debrief with others—ask for feedback.

Plan the work, then work the plan. Become competent in planning, organizing, and structuring projects or tasks. Then demonstrate how you can manage that plan, staying within scope, schedule, and budget.

Take a few risks. You might be scared to death by asking to serve as the lead of the committee or task force, but you’ll never know how you’ll do unless you take the risk and ask to be that lead person. When you’re finished leading, and you felt the risky outcome was less than positive, treat it as a lesson learned and apply what you’ve learned the next time. You’ll do a better job the next time.

So, that’s what I think. What other suggestions do you have for moving from a C player to an A player?