10 Things You Can Do To Improve Work Performance and Develop Yourself

We will break down 10 actions you can take to improve your work performance and go from being a good employee to a great one.

April 22, 2022
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Working smarter, not harder, is how the old saying goes. And while we'd like to think that's the case, most of us wind up working harder and harder to make headway at work.

You want to be better at your job, you want to make a positive difference, clear and achievable goals, and you want to see results.

But what exactly does that look like? What does it mean to improve your work performance in a very practical sense?

In this article, we will break down 10 steps to improve performance and go from being a good employee, manager, or leader to a great one.

How to improve work performance

  1. Clarify your goals

To make improvements at work, you need to set specific, manageable targets and then develop a strategy for achieving those goals. For example, if you are working on a deadline-driven project, set intermediate deadlines and write up important tasks for yourself along the way.

You can repeat the same approach if you are managing a team and improve employee performance.

Often-time, managers will try to figure out what each employee needs to get better and provide some sort of training. This can be difficult, especially if the manager has a full plate. 

Assembly's Goal Defining Flow can help employees set goals, define fears when it comes to daunting tasks, and help managers structure ways to support their direct reports in achieving those goals.

Remember that an employee with clear goals and a to do list is more efficient and motivated than someone confused about their responsibilities.

  1. Organize yourself

Most people are busy, but not all of them get much done (or succeed at time management).

If you want to do more of what's important, get more done, and increase your productivity, the best way is to get organized. There are so many options for daily/weekly planners out there, so why not try one?

If you don't know the answers to the questions below, you may benefit from a daily or weekly planner.

  • Do you know exactly what you need to accomplish every day?
  • Do you have your tasks prioritized?
  • Do you have a clear idea about which tasks will take up most of your time?

If you're looking for a new and better way to plan your day/week while retaining a clear sense of what needs to get done, you might find Assembly's Daily/Weekly Agenda Template helpful.

  1. Assess Your Strengths and Weaknesses

It's hard to be productive or find opportunities to improve performance if you don't know your strengths and weaknesses. This is where self-evaluation comes in.

The first step to improving your work output is to be aware of what kind of work you do best, what work you enjoy doing and how you can improve in areas that are lacking.

Make a list of your strengths and weaknesses, and think about how you can best use each one for the most productivity. 

If you're struggling in a particular area that needs improvement, look into ways to get better at it. In some cases, getting help is quicker than figuring it out independently. 

Check out the Self-evaluation Flow to help identify strengths or areas for improvement and the self-evaluation guide for more ideas. 

  1. Ask for feedback

Asking for feedback can be intimidating, but it's a great way to learn about yourself and get new ideas for ways to improve. And if you ask the right questions, you'll get some great advice in the process.

When asking for feedback from colleagues and managers, try not to put them on the spot. 

Instead of demanding "Tell me how I'm doing!" try a more open-ended approach like: "I'm looking for ways to improve my performance here; do you have any suggestions?" or "How would you say I've been performing since I started?"

As a manager, you might find it challenging to receive honest feedback from your team. But if you don't know what's happening with your team or the organization, you might not be able to help the situation when trouble arises. 

Not knowing your staff is like driving a car at night without headlights on.

With Assembly's Manager Feedback Flow, you can get insights into your team quickly and easily. The feedback flow gives employees the freedom to provide anonymous feedback, and with that, you'll learn a lot more than if they keep their thoughts to themselves.

  1. Tone Down Perfectionism

Perfectionism is a major productivity killer.

Here's how it works: you're working on an important project, and you want to make sure it's perfect before turning it in. So you work on it a little more and then a little more after that, but it's still not just right. So you tinker with it some more.

At this point, let me ask you a question: how much time have you wasted?

Perfectionism is a well-known barrier to productivity. The problem with being a perfectionist is you're never done. If you're someone who has to make everything perfect before moving on, you're probably wasting a lot of time and losing sight of the real objective.

You might also be holding yourself back from taking risks that could lead to significant gains.

When it comes to performance, there's such a thing as "good enough," and often, it's wise to settle for it. You can always go back later if you need to refine the work further.

  1. Communicate Better With Others

Communication is a significant component of any job. If you're not communicating well, it's going to be tough for you to get your job done, whether in the form of communicating with customers or with fellow team members or managers.

And while we typically think of communication as articulating our thoughts and ideas to others, listening is just as important. 

You can improve your communication skills by assessing how you communicate in the workplace and by continually working on becoming a better listener and speaker.

Implementing a 1:1 with peer, manager, or direct report can be a huge help in making sure everything is being communicated. One-on-ones are a great way to stay connected and on top of tasks.

  1. Take initiative

Taking initiative isn't about being a go-getter or a self-promoter. It's about being responsible and accountable for the results of your work. 

When you take initiative, you don't wait for someone else to tell you what to do. You come up with ideas that benefit the team, and then you make them happen. If something goes wrong, you own it and figure out how to fix it. 

Taking initiative is an essential skill in its own right because it helps reduce stress in the workplace. When everyone on the team owns their work and their mistakes, there's less need for micromanagement.

  1. Stay Connected to Your Team

The more you stay connected to your team and the organization, the more likely it is that you will be able to maintain a good work performance. When you have regular updates and communication flows, you can prevent problems before they become too big. 

This can also help you get the support you need when things are tough and make sure that nothing gets overlooked.

But these days, teams are so busy with multiple projects and initiatives to execute that they start to lose focus, communications become scattered, and things just don't seem to move as quickly anymore.

As a manager, one thing is clear — your work will be less stressful and more efficient if you take advantage of Assembly's Standup Meeting Flow. This flow will help you stay connected and aligned with project teams, ensuring clarity in their work and how they continue to move forward on projects.

  1. Delegate tasks

If you want to get more done, you've got to stop doing all the work yourself. Delegating tasks is a great way to lighten your workload without compromising the quality of your output. 

Many people hesitate to do this because they think no one else can do the work as well as they can, but this isn't true. Give other people responsibilities and let them prove themselves. It is surprising how talented some people reveal themselves to be when given a chance.

  1. Track and analyze your projects

Keep track of the projects you've worked on and their results. Analyze what went right and wrong in each project, including how long it took you to complete each task or whether the results matched expectations. 

This will help you to identify your strengths and weaknesses — as well as those of your team.

But collecting feedback from a cross-functional team to identify how the project went and which areas need improvement is difficult without a structure to guide the thinking and analysis. 

With Assembly's Team Retrospective Flow, you can get feedback from everyone on the team about their challenges and wins during a specific project and learn concretely what everyone's opinions are on what worked, what didn't work, what needs improvement, etc. 

Here's a template you can then use as you build your own retrospectives.

And that's all there is to it! 

While most of these tips may require little effort, they can make a huge difference in your performance at work and personal experiences. A lot of it involves setting goals for yourself and making sure you achieve them. We hope these tips help you stay motivated and on-track with your professional goals.

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