Typically, the words “risk” and “work” don’t particularly fit together. It’s widely believed that the best kinds of employees are those who keep their heads down and just go with the flow. There’s nothing wrong with that if you’re both happy and doing your job well. But there’s definitely room for some risk in the workplace.
Here are the four best ways to risk at work:
1. Take charge of meetings
How you act in meetings largely shows what kind of employee you are. Again, if you simply want to show up to your meetings, jot down notes on what you need to take away, and call it a day, that’s fine; but if you want to set yourself apart, try and shake things up every once in a while. Bring your own ideas to the department meeting, including ideas on how the meetings should be run. Do you know how to make meetings more effective? Maybe you’d like to run a meeting yourself someday! Talk to your superior about your ideas. If nothing else, they’ll see that you’re looking to improve the bigger picture, and that’s how you go from a good employee to a great employee.
2. Ask for a raise the right way
If you deserve a raise, ask. Asking for a raise can definitely feel like a risk for a lot of people — they don’t want to rock the boat if things are going well at work, or maybe they just don’t like asking for things. But if you’re doing stellar work and the company is benefiting from your efforts, you should ask. Back up your request with hard data and a professional proposal. Go into the meeting with concrete reasons as to why you deserve the raise. Print out numbers and come prepared with specific examples of how you help the company grow and succeed.
3. Help out coworkers you don’t necessarily need to help out
Even if it’s not in your job description to lend a helping hand to people outside of your department, it doesn’t hurt to help a coworker when you have the time. You never know when you might need someone to vouch for your work ethic or return the favor. Generally speaking, the more people who like you, the better off you are. Adding to the positive atmosphere and helping to keep up office morale are two invaluable qualities not every employee can possess.
4. Abandon your ideas when they’re not working out
It’s important to stick to your guns when you know you have an idea that will help the greater good of the company, but it’s imperative to know when to let go as well. Consider what is a contingency plan in project management — a strategy to deal with potential scenarios that could ruin your project. You may have planned for certain eventualities in your contingency plan, but when unexpected ones crop up, it can be difficult to admit defeat and change direction. Listen to your coworkers and bosses, accept criticism, and view your work with an unbiased eye. It’s extremely challenging, but try to remove your ego from the equation. When you really need to examine something you’ve been working on, don’t think of it as a reflection of who you are as an employee, but rather just as another project a coworker completed. Is it still good?
Deborah Sweeney is the CEO of MyCorporation.com. MyCorporation is a leader in online legal filing services for entrepreneurs and businesses, providing start-up bundles that include corporation and LLC formation, registered agent, DBA, and trademark & copyright filing services. MyCorporation does all the work, making the business formation and maintenance quick and painless, so business owners can focus on what they do best. Follow her on Google+ and on Twitter @mycorporation.