How to Be a Pro at Work

Success at work as a professional requires continued effort and dedication. If you’re a Muslim who works in a non-Muslim environment, you may find some situations more challenging, especially when your work requirements conflict with your values and religious obligations.

Here are 9 quick tips that can set you on the right track to success in the workplace, Insha’Allah

1- Know Yourself

Honestly complete your own SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis vis-à-vis your job and organization.
Find strengths to exploit, weaknesses to work on, weaknesses to hide, opportunities to go after and threats to manage.
Understand how each of these may impact your career.
For example, if public speaking is your weakness, you can either decide that it is an important skill to have and choose to work on it taking public speaking classes, or you can find a way to avoid ever having to do public speaking.

2- Focus on Your Own Success

Find role models a level or two above you and emulate their good traits.
Set your personal performance goals based on standards for the next level.
Understand your value to the organization and work on increasing it.
Always be well-prepared and never be caught off-guard in a meeting.
An internal locus of control is an important trait in all successful people. You control your own destiny.

3- Focus on the Solutions

Never take just a problem or an issue to your team or supervisor; always suggest one or more possible (and plausible) solutions as well.
If you cannot think of any solutions to your problems, ask your peers before you ask your supervisor.
If you still cannot come up with a solution, explain to the supervisor the effort undertaken to find a solution.

4- Know the Opinion Leaders

Never have a high opinion of your own work; it does not mean much and it inhibits continuous improvement.
Ensure that your team appreciates your true value and commitment to your work.
If you are not being recognized, either your work is not up to par, or it is perceived as such; both are equally bad. Take actioon to change that.

5- Find and Engage Mentors

Have multiple mentors, both at your workplace and outside.
Have frank discussions with mentors on your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.
Have your mentors at work watch out for your best interests (e.g. in performance review meetings or promotion decisions).

6- Have a Support Network

Find a diverse group of team members that like you and/or think highly of your work.

Ensure that they watch out for your best interests watching out for their best interests.
Help them whenever they need it so they can help you when you need it.
Use your network to be in the know.
Never be the last one to find out important information affecting your career.

7- Lose Neither the Forest Nor the Trees

Be detail-oriented in your work and try to avoid small/sloppy mistakes (e.g. spelling, grammar, calculation).
Be objective-oriented in your outlook (i.e. know the value of your work and what it needs to accomplish).
In client service, the key question always is: are we adding value to the client? If not, sooner or later we will be exposed.

8. Never Compromise Your Values

Ensure that those you work with know your value system and/or religious obligations.
Make it non-negotiable but at the same time a non-issue (i.e. assure the team that your religious obligations wont compromise the quality of your work).
Find halal alternatives for teaming instead of ignoring it.
For example, if teaming at your work primarily happens through after-work drinks, find opportunities to have lunch and coffee with team members on a much more frequent basis.

9- Always Keep Your Eyes on the Prize

As Muslims, our goal is the Hereafter, so understand and be motivated how your work helps you achieve that.
A good Dunya-Aakhirah Balance means never compromising on the Aakhirah, not merely doing some good deeds to balance the scales.
Seek out ways to do da`wah through your personal excellence and through making yourself available to discussions.

When I didn’t know the people I worked with well, it was difficult to start conversations. However, as I got to know them, they became more comfortable in asking me questions about my faith and Islam. There are ample opportunities nowadays with everything that is going on in the name of Islam and if we don’t do our part to fix the perception, we will be failing as Muslims.

Junaid Mirza is an economic and tax policy nut, Islamic finance and microfinance enthusiast. Besides his keen interest in grassroots development, he is also a green energy fanatic and a transfer pricing professional.

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