Your boss is not the enemy.  I’ve found that the better the relationship you have with your boss, the better your job will go.  Why hide your weaknesses?  Why not admit them and ask for help in improving in these areas?  Why not ‘fess up when you’ve messed up or made an error in judgment?  Chances are, your boss already knows your flaws.  If you discuss them together, it’s so much healthier and will promote more unity between the two of you.  The majority of my bosses have wanted for me to succeed and have not been threatened by my abilities or my opinions.  And when I became more transparent with them, there was increased mutual respect and our working relationships only improved. 

There will always be a weakest link.  After about my fourth job, I finally figured this out.  “Why do I keep getting stuck working with people who don’t shoulder their part of the load?”  “Why are there ALWAYS thorns in my flesh at each of my jobs?”  I realized that this will probably always be the case, and that (gasp!) I might be a “weakest link” to someone else.  (It also occurred to me that I was the common denominator in all of these situations.  Hmmm.  Something more to think about.)  It really all boils down to the point that we’re all imperfect.  And we’re all blind to our blindness.  Amen?  After that clicked, I began to see my “weakest links” in a different light.  I can’t change them, but I can change me and my attitude.  And I can try to maintain a standard of excellence in my work and not be someone else’s “weakest link.”

Shocking but true ... you are not always right.  Here’s another lesson that it took me a loooooong time to get—partly because I like to be right.  And partly because I think my ideas are genius (well, some of the time).  When someone else has a great idea or a good solution and you don’t agree with it, take a breath.  And then take a moment.  Perhaps you are initially reacting this way because you are not the one who came up with the great idea or good solution.  Think about it.  Are you easily threatened?  Or do you have a hard time seeing others in the spotlight (thereby taking away from your “time to shine”)?  Even though you may think you are right (and you may be), your idea or solution may not be the best answer for whatever the situation may be or requires.  Take time to consider what your coworkers or boss have to say, before running your mouth and trying to take over and “be right.” 

Clarity is your friend.  Don’t assume.  And don’t think that everyone knows what you’re thinking or planning.  When you start functioning like this, it’s just a misunderstanding or a potential train wreck waiting to happen.  Make the extra effort to make sure that you and your coworkers and your boss are on the same page.  Ask questions.  And be communicative about what you’re doing.  For the most part, people are not mind readers and aren’t checking in with their Magic 8 balls every few hours to figure out what’s going on with you.  So help them out by keeping them in the loop.

Do what you say you will do.  Making promises or having good intentions just doesn’t cut it.  You have to be a person of your word.  And if that means your word needs to be very small on a particular day, then so be it.  At least make good on it and do what you say you’re going to do.  We’ve all worked with someone who promises the moon and delivers … well … next to nothing.  Don’t be that type of person for someone else.  Your reputation is fragile and valuable.  Do what you can to protect it.  It goes before you and matters more than you think.