No matter what position you hold in the workforce, your position is changing. The world of work is changing rapidly. Don’t wait until your position becomes obsolete and you face losing your job to take action. It’s critical for you to own your own development and be proactive in leading change for yourself and for your organization.
Here are surefire ways to stay relevant and stand out in a changing job market:
1. Come in earlier or stay later to do more.
Work beyond your position. Help your leader with a project. Help partners on your team. Reach out beyond your work to learn, grow, develop, and serve. It won’t take long for others to notice your initiative. One of the sure signs you aren’t going to make it long term is an attitude that says “that isn’t in my job description.” Make it a point to do 10% more than is asked of you.
2. Network outside your network.
It’s easy to get comfortable in our own lane of competency. We hang with the finance leaders or the technology leaders or the marketing team. If you want to stand out, you’ve got to step outside that comfort zone. Develop your weaknesses. One of the key turning points in my own career was learning the financial side of our business. My comfort zone at the time was product development and innovative solutions. Still I kept hearing these strange voices talking about margin, contribution, variable costs, etc., and I was lost. I realized it wasn’t enough to stay in my lane. I needed to learn the business and financial side of my work. I took initiative and asked a finance leader for help. Joe spent several sessions with me, and I eventually learned to speak the language of business and that has made all the difference in my own world of work. Take initiative and learn about those areas outside your competency.
3. Avoid negative people and negative conversations.
It’s natural to be negative. We can talk all day about the weaknesses of others, the problems on the team (or in the world), why things can’t be done, why the past was so much better, or why you think your leader is inadequate. Negative talk attracts quite a crowd. But if you want to make a difference, stand out, and make an impact on the future, don’t go there and don’t hang with others who do. Be the person who prays, serves, rolls up your sleeves to help solve problems. See everything through the lens of opportunity no matter what the challenge.
4. Support your leader.
Leadership is hard work. Leading in a time of change is even harder. Leaders will always have critics because it’s easy to blame leaders for all problems. Don’t be one of your leader’s critics. Your leaders aren’t perfect, and they don’t have all the answers. They will make mistakes, but God has placed them in their role for this season. Instead of criticism, have their back. Pray for them. Encourage them. Help them to succeed. Lock arms with them to make your organization a success in its mission and strategy. Even when you disagree with the decision or direction your leader is taking (unless it is immoral or unethical), support them in words and actions especially to those who are quick to criticize.
Ultimately, our relevance in a changing world comes from our faith in Christ. He is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow (Hebrews 13:8). He has placed us in this time and place so we can lead, live, and work with confidence in God.
“And whatever you do, in word or in deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” Colossians 3:17
Which of these actions is most challenging for you?