These are a few things I recommend to achieve career success. When you interview for a job, do your homework and learn all that you can about the company, its key leaders and the position you are applying for. Find out what qualities are needed for success and be prepared to give relevant examples of your past accomplishments and even some of the challenges you have faced.
When you start a new job, take the time to learn about the people and areas you will be responsible for. Often, leaders are not experts in the detailed work of those they manage, but it is important to have some understanding of everything within your purview. Don’t be afraid to ask the team you supervise to teach you about how they do their jobs and work with them to determine how you can help them be successful.
When I was commissioner in the state of Vermont, I was the chief regulator for Banking, Insurance, Securities, Captive Insurance and Health Care Administration. During my first several months, I spent time with my general counsel and deputies and asked them to brief me on their areas of responsibility. When they asked for my signature I took the time to listen and understand what I was signing and the impact it would have. I did a lot of reading about the various areas I was responsible for so that I could effectively represent the department and support my team.
Sometimes, it slowed things down, but in the end, the outcome was better. When I left that position, my team thanked me for taking the time to learn about the things I wasn’t an expert on and their individual challenges as leaders. We did not always agree and I ultimately made the final decisions, but they always knew I was interested and valued their input.
Here are a few pieces of career advice I take with me everywhere. It is so important to listen. Ask questions and really hear the answers. You might not agree with the other point of view and you might choose a different direction, but if you listen, you will gain respect for that person.
When you disagree, look for common ground, identify solutions and compromise when you can.
Follow-through is important. Reliability and dependability are great qualities in a leader.
Be appreciative and recognize those who put in that extra effort on a project.