Phillips: 25 on-the-job ideals

By: 
David Phillips

Soon it will be time to make resolutions, set goals and think about self-improvements as we head into a new year. Since many people spend so much of their daily lives at work, a few tips on the workplace is in order.

Edward Henninger, who has been a newspaper consultant, editor and writer for the past half century, has put together what he calls “25 on-the-job ideals,” which focuses on how we think about our work — and ourselves. He’s retiring at the end of this year, but for those who aren’t leaving the workplace, he has some insight.

During those 50 years, he said he has learned a few things about how to do his work well and how to conduct himself in the workplace.

He recently received a call from someone close to him who was struggling in her work. She asked his advice and he did his best to help her. He also passed his advice on to those of us in the newspaper business.

It seemed fitting to share this with people outside the newspaper business since work struggles are universal. Therefore, here is his list:

• Be yourself. Everyone else is taken.

• Be a leader.

• Serve the company.

• Bring solutions (not problems) to the table.

• Be the "go to" person.

• Always say "yes." You can backpedal later.

• Promise low, deliver high.

• Share your time freely...when you can.

• Demand respect.

• Face opposition firmly — but gracefully.

• Be professional in everything you do.

• Control the things you can control. Let go of the things you can't.

• Be responsible.

• Be accountable.

• Take the high road. 

• Admit your mistakes — and learn from them.

• Never claim credit for yourself. Those who matter will know.

• Lower your expectations of others. Foolish and lazy people aren't worth the space you give them (rent free!) in your head.

• With rare exceptions, you'll never be able to change what someone thinks about you. It's usually not worth the effort.

• Get a mentor — someone you can talk to.

• Be a mentor — someone needs your help.

• Leave 'em laughing.

• Leave 'em wanting more of you.

• Never think of it as "just a job." It's more than that to the people who matter.

• Remember: it's "just a job." Never let your work define who you are as a person.

“I’ve tried to live by these ideals during my entire career. There’s been occasional slips here and there but following these principles sure has made my professional life easier, more productive — and more fun,” he said. “Give these some thought. I’ll bet they can help you, too!”