Reassessing our Priorities in the Workplace

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Texas Border Business

By Mario Reyna, Dean of Business, Technology, and Public Safety at South Texas College

Mario Reyna

My wing commander once gave me some advice in my early years in the Air Force that has served me well throughout my professional life. His message was straightforward – know your job, be decisive, and take care of your people. 

Character traits such as loyalty, honesty, mission-driven, tenacity, and self-control are traits that we must possess, so others can see that we are transparent and trustworthy.

It’s crucial for many in the workplace as well. Open any social media platform, and it has all kinds of suggestions on how to succeed -listen, lead by example, and be a servant leader. 

We must begin to assess these traits and many others in ourselves and then ask if we have truly mastered them. 

Everyone wants to succeed in their careers, but we don’t always have a clear-cut answer to get there. There are options, however, so we begin to carve out a path that is the best way for us to move forward in our working lives. 

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People get hired because there is an expectation that you will do well in your new job. It’s important to know everything about your new position as quickly as possible. First, you must be a self-starter to recognize the many opportunities that are available to improve your organization’s performance. The best way to gain this skill is to become an avid reader of books and journals in your field. I bet you didn’t you know that the Oracle of Omaha himself Warren Buffet reads about 500 pages a day, and used to read about 800 pages in his early years. 

Learn how to solve problems for your boss. There is a very famous Harvard Business Review article, Who’s Got the Monkey, that is required reading for individuals in leadership and management positions.

Be decisive! Sometimes we ignore our instincts when we are seeking a perfect solution. However, not all situations require the extreme precision of a lunar landing or the targeting of an intercontinental ballistic missile, for example. If we need to get from point A to point B, sometimes just getting there will make a difference for your business. To wait for a perfect solution means that an opportunity will be missed, and everything associated with that situation will also be lost. Bragging of having an ideal document or spreadsheet while the organization is experiencing a loss will probably not have a great outcome.

President Truman understood decision making very well because he used to say the “buck stops here.” He had to make decisions every day and accept the consequences that we still talk about to this day. 

Last but not least, take care of your people because they are your most valuable asset. This means that individuals under your charge should receive an orientation and be introduced to all the team members. Also, take the time to train your personnel properly, so they can perform their jobs. An organized training program should be in place to ensure that all your staff is aware of all the tasks needed by your operation to be successful. 

It also means that you are empathetic about a particular situation someone might be experiencing while keeping to the standards already in place. Knowing your employees’ families is also essential because this will show that you care about them. Be people-oriented!

Knowing your job, being decisive, and taking care of your people will make your organization more prosperous, and will ultimately make you a better person. 

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