Does your team have someone truly indispensable? A rock that can be counted on by everyone in the metaphorical room? Everyone loves working with this person, and it increases job security in critical times. Is there any reason you can’t be this person?
Being the indispensable person is great for team morale, job security, and increased job satisfaction. Becoming this person takes deliberate effort, and you need to balance doing it all without being taken advantage of or burning out. If you want to become the indispensable rock your team needs, follow these steps.
Emulate top athletes
An example we at NexGoal love is to emulate how elite athletes approach their chosen sport. Top-level athletes always put in extra effort, innovate new strategies, and self-scout to evaluate their processes.
Small things like being the first one in and the last one out, accepting feedback without taking it personally, embracing teamwork, and keeping high standards are tasks we can all accomplish. And by being this type of employee, you may inspire others to take the same approach, just like in the pros.
Porter Braswell, CEO of Jopwell, believes that embracing these traits and focusing on competing with yourself allows a worker to embrace a mindset of growth. You don’t need the physical skills of an athlete, but looking at how they approach work can teach us many life lessons.
A great way to become indispensable is to always be seen and to make your managers’ lives a little bit easier. One of the most straightforward ways to accomplish that is to be on the radar when a project starts. By being one of the first to volunteer, you’ll get credit for your extra effort and willingness to try new things. And if you’ve gained a good reputation, your manager will feel relief knowing you’re part of the team.
“Key projects are likely to give you exposure to the wider business and volunteering, when other employees don’t, will ensure that you are seen as a dedicated go-getter and a valuable member of the team.” –Michael Page
The key is learning when to say “no.” It isn’t fair for you to do an organization’s full workload. Writing for Inc., Martin Zwilling says a well-timed “no” can be good for the organization. If you have a positive reputation, some may see you’re overworked and be willing to step up to help. Or your team may recognize that the project may not be the best move right now if you’re saying “no” to the idea.
Become an expert
You don’t need to take on an organization’s entire workload to be indispensable—you aren’t there to do everyone’s work for them. But finding your niche in the workplace and doubling down on it is a great way to become indispensable without burning out.
Apollo Technical suggests two ways to accomplish this—becoming the best at a skill you do daily or taking on a role no one else on the team can do. They suggest a human resources professional mastering photography skills to improve recruiting and onboarding materials as an example. Find something the team needs and currently lacks and fill that niche. You’ll soon be viewed as indispensable.
Be a team player
You can make that niche go even further by sharing that knowledge with your coworkers. Just because you’re the expert doesn’t mean you have to hoard that knowledge so no one else can fix the printer. Being a team player and making your coworkers value you will make you indispensable.
Indeed says a keen awareness of office dynamics can help. Knowing how to read the room, understanding what your coworkers’ strengths are, and knowing the organization’s priorities can allow you to offer help in the right way at the right time. Getting positive recognition from your coworkers can lead to more satisfaction and having them help you in return.
“Your meaningful contributions to your team’s performance will be noticed by managers or co-workers, who’ll likely give you positive feedback on your hard work. That recognition can be really motivating.” –Elizabeth Perry, BetterUp
Finally, at the end of the day, the best way to stand out at work is to be action-driven. New challenges will arrive in any sort of work environment, and being focused on finding a solution and adding value will make you an invaluable part of the team.
Michael Page says managers want solutions, not problems. And recall that one of the best ways to be indispensable is to make life easier for your managers. Coming up with a solution will get you noticed. Hearing your boss’ complaints and offering a solution without being asked will make you indispensable.
Becoming your team’s indispensable member requires balancing extra effort and knowing how to not be taken advantage of. By embracing the techniques above while being aware of your mental health state, you can be viewed as a blue-chip team member that both your coworkers and managers can count on. Just be sure to set appropriate boundaries so you don’t stretch yourself too thin.
“When you leave an organization, it will keep on functioning and will not pack up because you’re no longer a part of it. However, the goal is to be seen as indispensable because of the tremendous value you bring. This is not just about the organization, it is about becoming a person of value and building a career based on this concept.” –Ifeoma Finnih, LinkedIn