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An employee in control is an employee aiming for success

Stay relevant to your employer in 2011

Career success does not come easy. It takes hard work and determination.

But coupled with a positive attitude, strong interpersonal skills and technical capability, you can smoothe your pathway to success, says André Venter, spokesperson of the trade union UASA.

“Few people have a natural talent for this and need to acquire the skills and competencies necessary to become a valued and recognised employee. The same is applicable to the building of leadership capabilities to prepare for more demanding and challenging future roles,” says Venter.

Venter says to achieve success, employees need to work on three important issues: attitude, technical skills and people skills.

Johan van Tonder, economist at Dynamic Wealth, says making ends meet is still extremely difficult. “Workers – from the highest to lowest level - will have to do more than only to protect their jobs and thus the social wellbeing of their households, but also need to lay the building blocks for a solid future,” says Van Tonder.

“Hundreds of thousands well functioning South African households suddenly found themselves in desperate financial situations due to the international credit crisis, which eventually culminated into what is today called the great recession.

“The bad news is that more job losses may be on the way in 2011 as many countries in Europe will struggle to avert a debt crisis.

“The recession forced South African businesses to restructure and consolidate in order to remain competitive. Workers, in general, should therefore view their positions in the context of both the international financial situation and the subsequent reaction of South African businesses.

“It will stand them in good stead if they start doing things which will make them invaluable to their employers. This might require more thinking, or effort, in order to make a larger contribution to the production process,” says Van Tonder.

Venter says the problem is that people are often employed and then left to work things out for themselves, for example, how to integrate with new colleagues, how to handle conflict or how to be a team player.

“It is an inescapable reality that many employees struggle in these situations, which are

part of everyday life in the workplace. The simple reason for this is that in many instances nobody has taken the time to guide and coach such employees through these basic steps to empower them to realise their full potential and capability,” he says.

UASA, in it’s new guide for employees, WorkWize, explains the Three Pillars Model consisting of attitude, technical skills and people skills.

Venter says attitude is the way in which you view and approach your life. “It is yoursubconscious actions that shapes how you think and what you do. Your attitude, therefore, determines what you think and what you do.

UASA’s tips for a positive attitude at work:

  • Take responsibility for your attitude.
  • You are in the position that you are in and you have what you have, purely as a result of the choices you have made in life.
  • You have to take responsibility for your own life, because if you do not then who will?
  • It will not help to blame other people for your misfortunes or bad luck, these things happen to all of us during our life times. The question is, what are you going to do about it? Are you going to blame others or are you going to get up, grow up and move on towards your own dream?
  • Taking responsibility for your life, and your attitude towards life, is one of the greatest things that you can do for yourself!

Remember that the way you think controls your actions. What you think is usually what you do, so take charge of your thinking!

Repeat the following statements:

  • I am capable of overcoming this situation
  • I have options, which could be possible solutions, for this
  • situation
  • I am bigger than any past failures
  • I am going to do something (positive) about this situation today!

“Technical or functional skills refer to those skills that make you competent to do your job. These skills are usually relevant to a specific job and it is of utmost importance that you receive either formal or informal training on the necessary skills. A lack of focus on training may ultimately lead to you losing your job because you cannot fully perform in your job, and, in the long run, you may loose out on certain skills that you could have learned and applied.”

Venter says it is each workers’ responsibility to ensure that he or she stays on top of new developments in their careers.

“This ability, to stay on top of what is happening in your field of work, is probably the only certainty to ensure that you will always be in demand for a job. Your ticket to lifelong employment lies in your ability to adapt to new technology and thinking and therefore you must be willing to learn new methods and processes that are applicable to your job, at all times.”

Venter explains that people skills include influencing skills, assertiveness and time management.

“Influencing skills are very important. Too many employers still believe that technical skills are sufficient, but sometimes the employers are surprised when they find that workers are unable to function within a team environment, a place where more than just technical skills are needed.

“Assertiveness is not the same as aggression. There is a strong need to explain the difference to employees and employers and what it means to be assertive in your behaviour. Workers often think that they have to be aggressive to get their point across at work and that if they do not behave in this way other workers will see them as being weak. These are perceptions that need to be corrected.

“Lastly, time management will always be an important skill to have as it directly reflects the productivity of the worker and their output in the workplace.”

Venter points out the benefits of effective time management:

  • Reduces stress and pressure.
  • Allows you to have a planned and focused approach to work, thereby improving quality of output.
  • You get more done – start less, finish more.
  • Better management of resources.
  • Helps you to keep your promises and not over-extend yourself.
  • Contributes to a better quality and balanced lifestyle, both at
  • work and at home.

UASA’s tips for effective time management

o Have a clear plan with goals, activities and time lines

  • Be organised and keep your workspace tidy
  • Learn to say “No”
  • Not doing things at number 99
  • Don’t get distracted from what you doing
  • Do the most important and critical stuff at the time of day when you are at your most energetic

“Be prepared to educate yourself on these matters. You are the one in control, you decide whether you want to be on top of things or a hapless victim. Choose to be in control,” says Venter.

BOOK GIVE-AWAY!

The first fifty readers/listeners to contact UASA at …………………… will receive a free copy of WorkWize, published by Steve Hoffman Publishers. Remember to supply your name and postal address.

For further enquiries or to set up a personal interview, contact  André Venter at 083 251 3274.

Issued by:         Helen Ueckermann

082 603 3335

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On behalf of trade union UASA