We all lookout for pearls of wisdom that help us become better leaders or employees. Given the room there is to learn/ re-learn skills, work ethics, cultural practices and even how to just ‘be’ at our workplaces, any insight is welcome. Icing on the cake – when it comes from some of the world’s most influential leaders.

  1. Get up, dress up, and show up. Conveying a sense of urgency and movement, this little nugget comes from Alexa von Tobel, founder and CEO of LearnVest, and the author of Financially Fearless. She says, “You will likely find yourself in tons of new situations, and it’s up to you to figure out how to navigate them.” We might be wired to want predictability and control in our work-life, but managing uncertainty is critical to our success. Research by Prof. Phillip G. Clampitt, University of Wisconsin, shows that employees who embrace uncertainty are:
  • More satisfied with their job.
  • More committed to their organizations.
  • Less cynical about organizational life.
  • More likely to identify with the organization.
  1. Don’t shy away from failure. Before the likes of Steve Jobs and Richard Branson told us to embrace failure, Michael Jordan told us that he fails over and over again. Before that, Truman Capote said failure was, “the condiment that gives success its flavor.” J.K. Rowling, author of the best-selling Harry Potter series, says, “I don’t think we talk about failure enough. It would’ve really helped to have someone tell me – you will fail. That’s inevitable. It’s what you do with it.” Her first Harry Potter draft was rejected 13 times!

Those who fail gracefully are deemed more likable, says Timothy J. Bono, Psychology Dean at Washington University. Called the Pratfall Effect, when someone we perceive as competent makes a mistake, we often like that person more because it shows they are human. He also says people tend to remain motivated in the face of challenging work and are more likely to persevere on future tasks.

  1. Keep things simple. While speaking to CNBC, Microsoft co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates admired Warren Buffett’s ability to keep things simple. “His ability to boil things down, to just work on the things that really count, to think through the basics – it’s so amazing that he can do that. It’s a special form of genius.”Though this may seem like obvious advice, the tendency towards overwhelm and complication is higher with the numerous things we juggle. But, at every situation that gets out of hand, if you can ask yourself ‘What really matters here?’ you’ll find your way out of thickets. Apply this to goal-setting, team management, to-do lists or even organizational crisis.
  1. Exercise humility and restraint. Since we referred to Warren Buffet earlier, this one comes straight from him. A Foster School of Business study determined that humble individuals tend to be the most effective leaders and high performers in team settings. Researchers consider this a competitive advantage, because humility naturally translates into an ability to accept criticism or constructive feedback.

Though these tips may seem commonplace, they never go out of style. Ofcourse, they aren’t the end of line. Add to the list and tell us, what’s the best advice you have received about success at work?

Leave a Reply