1. Know the mission. Align yourself with your boss’ and company’s goals and values. Make your boss’ priorities your priorities.
2. Understand how you’ll be evaluated. Know precisely which skills, behaviors and accomplishments you will be judged on and rewarded. Focus on them like a laser.
3. Be dependable. Do what you say you’re going to do. Better yet, under-promise and over-deliver.
4. Project positive energy. Don’t be the one to whine or criticize the boss or company direction. Be a motivator: the person everyone wants to be around.
5. Make your boss look good. Finish your work on time and with a high level of professionalism. Bring your boss ideas that will help him and the department and offer to take charge and implement them.
6. Own up. Take responsibility for your mistakes by focusing on what you’ve learned rather than what you’ve done wrong. For example, “I think this project could have been better if we’d gotten the group’s buy-in early on,” or “Next time I would talk more with the end-users up-front…”
7. Be organized. Plan your next day before you leave work. Rank your tasks by urgency and importance and make a point of doing at least the top two items on your list.
8. Be punctual. Arriving for work or meetings on time (even early) shows you’re enthusiastic, dependable and able to manage your life effectively.
9. Be resourceful. Don’t run to the boss with every question you have or setback you encounter. Think things through first. If you must report a problem to the boss, develop possible solutions to present.
10. Broaden your horizons. Take advantage of company-sponsored training courses and volunteer for projects in areas outside your everyday expertise.
11. Stay informed. Keep abreast of industry and company trends by reading trade journals and attending professional association events.
12. Be trendy. Stay current with technological, legal and knowledge advances in your area. Upgrade your skills and learn new ones.
13. Be courteous. Show respect and loyalty to your boss and speak well of him to others. (At the very least don’t bad mouth him to anyone.)
14. Be flexible. Change is inevitable. Companies need people who can adapt and go with the flow.
15. Take care of your health. When you’re run-down, productivity and ambition suffer — as does your image.
16. Leave your personal life at the door. Using your co-workers as therapists not only hurts productivity; it damages your credibility and can contaminate your work relationships (even if people seem sympathetic).
17. Go beyond the call of duty. Take on added challenges, put in extra hours, and never use the phrase, “That’s not in my job description.”
18. Be a team player. Show your boss and co-workers you have their best interests at heart by being empathetic and offering to help out when they need it.
19. Take a break now and then. A clear head and balanced life can give you energy and perspective.
20. Look and act promotable. Don’t let anyone think you work because you have to.
Loving what you do for a living and having genuine passion for the field that you are in go without saying. Also, the most important key to success is to have the utmost respect for your boss. If you do not admire and respect your boss, do yourself a favor and quit now.