Staying ahead of your existing competition or those you see entering the mix as potential challengers is a competitive advantage.
Start by evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of your own skill set and that of your company and determine how they compare to other individuals and companies. Doing so will help you position yourself as an individual or an organization wanting to succeed and advance. Once you identify your unique selling proposition and other virtues, you’ll be able to articulate them to others and act upon them.
Here are some points to assist:
Keep current: By staying up-to-date with the latest software, social media, trends and other skills typical for your position or the one you aspire to, you’ll continue to be an asset to your current employer or a new one. Be willing to take advantage of training opportunities, educational reimbursement plans and other factors that can augment your ability as a teammate, even to the point where you’re considered a subject-matter expert.
Know the marketplace: Who are your competitors? If you’re seeking a job, it can be internal candidates, external candidates, even robots and artificial intelligence processes. Make it known how your interpersonal skills, technological savvy and ability to collaborate make you an asset.
Know what’s important: Prioritize effectively by knowing which of your skills contribute the most to your company’s value and success. Companies are hiring for specific skills, so identify and promote the applicable skills in your wheelhouse. Offering a plan to develop and add even more value over time will portray you as a team player and major contributor.
Play well with others: We all know people who know their stuff, but fail to contribute as part of a team due to a lack of interpersonal skills. Avoid being one of them by focusing on positivity, supporting teammates, offering solutions, leading the way when you can, and enhancing your social skills, persuasiveness and ability to communicate.
Communicate: Clear communication both verbally and in writing is key, especially when time is of the essence. When you can explain an idea quickly, clearly and as briefly as possible, it enables others to move forward more effectively through your guidance.
Do more: There are plenty of employees who do just enough to get by. By taking initiative, anticipating needs of your organization and teammates, and standing out from the crowd in a good way, you’ll have an edge.
Consider yourself an investment: Polish your skills in communication, managing others, networking and more. Look for opportunities and take advantage of them wherever they are offered, both within the workplace and externally. Try library resources, professional and trade associations, educational institutions, online classes and podcasts, and in-person conferences. Gain fresh perspectives from podcasts that can easily be accessed on demand at no cost.
Considering all these factors will help make you the teammate everyone values and the leader others would follow.