As a kid, I always relished in the opportunity to win a little praise from my parents. Bed made? Check. Clothes neatly placed in the hamper? Check. Dishes washed? Check. All it took was completing a few chores, planting a winning smile on my face, and a bit of kid-like bragging to show off what a great daughter I was. Sure, that didn’t account for 100% of the time, but when I was rewarded with ice cream or a new stuffed animal, boy did it feel great.
Here we are, 30 years later, and not much has changed – apart from striving to be a model employee in lieu of a model daughter (which, in case you were wondering, I already am in my parents’ eyes). In today’s workplace, advancing your career and having job security means making yourself indispensable as an employee.
Whether you’re seen as the go-to person for solving those tough, head-scratching problems or you’re the extremely reliable guy or gal who can deliver high-quality work under tight deadlines, establishing yourself as an invaluable member of the team will not only get your boss’s attention, but will demonstrate your worth and contribution as an employee. Here's how.
Help Alleviate Heavy Workload
Proactively approach your boss about forthcoming projects in the pipeline and any tasks that could use an additional pair of hands. By taking the initiative to get a new project started, you’ll not only demonstrate your leadership skills, but you’ll be jumping on the opportunity to develop as a professional and broaden your skills.
Reliability and flexibility are two highly coveted skills that managers search for in their employees. What’s more, if you can identify aspects of your skills and work style that not only harmonizes with your manager’s, but further enhances results, then you can position yourself as an indispensable player on the team. Make sure that if you do offer up a helping hand, that it doesn’t disrupt your day to day responsibilities or the quality of work you put out.
Introduce New Ideas
Good employees can adequately follow instructions their manager dishes out. A truly valuable employee, however, will abide by these instructions, but take it one step further. Whether it’s by finishing the project before its expected completion date, providing an extra layer of valuable data, putting a creative spin on things, or simply providing a high level of customer service, your manager will be impressed that you took the initiative to go above and beyond. Putting in the added effort will also show your manager that you can be trusted with greater autonomy and are a big asset to the company.
Exercise Transparency & Be a Good Communicator
Managers have to juggle a lot of different responsibilities on a daily basis. The last thing they need is to be hit with any unexpected (and might I add unpleasant) surprises. Having strong communication skills is another way to make yourself indispensable as an employee, as your manager can rely on you to keep them up-to-date on everything going on with your work. That means establishing routine meetings to quickly debrief them on the project status and being transparent about any hurdles you encounter early on. This way, if an issue does escalate, your manager is already aware of it and will be prepared to implement a resolution strategy.
Maintain a Positive Mindset
From a cultural standpoint, people want to work with like-minded individuals who motivate or inspire them rather than someone who dampens their spirits. One of the most effective ways to establish yourself as an invaluable member of the team is via your attitude. You wouldn’t believe how impactful a positive outlook can be, especially when paired with someone who is willing to step up and get things done. When you’re optimistic and driven, it will boost your productivity and help you continually exceed expectations. While you don’t want to stand outside your manager’s office with cookies every day, you do want them to see you as the go-to employee to deliver results.