Becoming a More Knowledgeable Knowledge Worker

In this day and age of creating brands for just about everything, it is imperative that you actively think about the persona or image that you projected to the world as a worker, or your personal brand.  What image of yourself do you intend to project?  What image of yourself is perceived by your colleagues, bosses, and customers?  Do these two images mesh into a cohesive brand?

The development of personal and professional pursuits and goals do not have to be seen as mutually exclusive activities.  In fact, each pursuit can actively support the development of the other when done consciously.  A successful worker will want to provide value within your work experience since this reflects upon your own personal sense of self.  Job satisfaction is tied directly to this value and comes from many sources including your interactions and relationships within your work place with a boss and co-workers, the work environment, the resources available to perform your job, compensation, growth opportunities, company culture, company reputation, daily tasks and the amount of control over the work that you do on a daily basis.

A savvy knowledge worker is highly aware that a successful personal brand must be based on credibility which is burnished by the ability to create definition within standard work activity, establish reasonable expectations for tasks and project expertise on the subjects applicable to your industry.

The basic foundation cornerstones for becoming a successful knowledge worker are the following skills and traits.  Putting effort into developing or expanding these will pay off in the enhancement of your personal brand.

Critical Thinking Skills

There has been much discussion in education over the last couple of decades about critical thinking skills.  These skills are vital to the knowledge worker and your success in the work place.  Critical thinking can be defined as a complex set of cognitive skills which are employed in problem-solving, consciously developed result-oriented thought patterns and innovation.  Critical thinkers require the ability to analyze data, apply existing knowledge, seek out related information and make a reasonable judgment regarding expected outcome.

Applying critical thinking skills to work place concerns brings together the needs and expectations of divergent constituents to ensure proper business work flow is maintained, either within your own company or in business to business interactions.  Excelling at this skill means going beyond the question that has been asked to address the underlying question that created a need.  Providing this additional layer of effort makes it possible for the questioner to perform their job and provide better value thereby enhancing the overall business partnership.

Decision Making

After applying critical thinking to take a good look at an issue, defining the parameters and brainstorming possible solutions, it is time to make some decisions about the best course forward.  Take a look at the methods and tools that you are using to make decisions and take it another step.  Each of us, whether we realize it or not has a method, but we need to evaluate that method for effectiveness – you must establish your own criteria.  Deliberate and conscious action must be taken on your part.

Making sound decisions is not based on making perfect decisions, but on applying logic to the information currently available.  Also included would be consideration of intended outcome.  The other side of making sound decisions is to sidestep the common traps of haste, avoidance or procrastination, habit and indecisiveness.  In fact part of effective decision making is the ability to assess the results and determine if changes must be made to create a more effective decision to achieve the desired result.

Communication

We are bombarded with the importance of effective communication, but have you parsed out the meaning of this business essential within your own daily tasks?  First you must make certain that you understand your own reason for creating the communication.  You cannot convey what you do not understand fully yourself.  Then it is imperative to use a voice and language that will be understood by your intended audience.  Start with a positive statement, clearly define the reason for the communication, sketch out the solution using factual statements and end with any expected actions with clear timelines.  The objective should be to create a sense of collaboration, a shared purpose.

The simplest email must still tell a compelling story so that it will hold the interest of the recipient and ensure that your message gets the attention that it deserves.  In developing your communications methods, you must also take into account the perceptions of your intended recipient or audience.

Attitude

Think about positive & negative energy in the work place in terms of optimal fuel efficiency that we are all hoping to achieve with our cars these days.  How fuel efficient is negative energy in relation to propelling activities forward and calculated by effort put in and total output?  How much random energy is burnt up in the process uselessly?  Now think about your own energy usage.  Are you externally fueled, or driven more by the atmosphere in your work space and feedback from others, or are you internally fueled, which means that you generate your energy from your sense of self and your accomplishments?

Develop a strategy to keep your focus on positive progression.  Activate your own curiosity and encourage those around you to do the same.  Engage in solutions.

Find a means to regularly slough off any negativity that will always swirl around some portion of a work place.  For whatever reason there are always people who foster this type of atmosphere.  Negativity serves no purpose but to the originator.  Focus your vision on the truth that you know.  However, look for any nugget of truth that might lie inside the negativity and decide what you can or cannot do to improve upon it.

Becoming the most knowledgeable and effective worker and building your own personal brand will pay huge benefits in the course of your career and expand your sense of job satisfaction.

© 2012 Practical Business | Reasonable Expectations

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