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How to be a valuable team member at your workplace
good resource? who & why
If you work for a company or are part of a team, you always have a boss who is accountable for you. What you- as an employee deliver, conduct and even talk is reflective of your managers hiring choices. Leadership always appreciates great employees. What is a great employee and how do people get there? Here are some thoughts on being a valuable team member at your workplace.
get your basics right..
1. This is a no brainer- work hard. The most valuable person in the team is the one who delivers, who produces results, who accomplishes all tasks and meets the required targets. Be an achiever- always finish what you are assigned and do it well. Do a great job, do a job your manager can be proud of. Give little scope for questioning the credibility of your work and performance.
2. So you do your assignments and tasks well and on time. What else? Be a part of more! Show interest in other projects, display boundary- less behaviour and go beyond the realms of your comfort zone. If bandwidth permits, volunteer to participate in other team efforts and projects, this way you interact with more people in your organization and you widen your learning curve as well. It involves more exposure and adds experience to your kitty.
time & Information management..
3. Be up-to-date on ‘news’ and ‘happenings’ in your company. Know- what organization changes have taken place?, take interest in team hierarchy, know your boss’s boss's boss’s boss. Understand the company set up and how different departments are inter dependent with each other. You never know when you will need to collaborate with folks outside your own functional group to achieve certain tasks. Always make sure you complete all mandatory trainings like security and ethics. Never feature in any ‘defaulter’ or ‘pending’ list.
4. Be on time! Get to meetings at the designated hour. If you are the meeting host, make sure you have the meeting room set up in advance, don’t be scampering around and wait for the last moment to set up the projector or flip chart. Be organized in terms of meeting handouts, presentations and opening teleconference calls on time. It might seem small, but people and especially management notice these small things!
step out of your comfort zone..
5. Participate in inter organization or intra organization curricular events and activities such as sports days, bring your family to work day, charity drives etc. Enhance your networking skills and again, this is a way of collaborating with more people outside your immediate work group. You will learn a lot that is happening in other departments. It is a very common habit for most of us to work in silos in our companies and to be indifferent as to what is happening with other workgroups, but really, that takes you nowhere. You are swimming in your own pond and have no clue or pulse to the ocean of opportunities out there. This phenomenon is especially applicable if you work for a large business or company. So take part in those cultural and social events and make your presence felt!
6. This one applies again if you feel you have the room and space to take part in more than just your core work responsibilities. But it is always a good idea to be involved in Volunteer Cells, Harassment Cells or Women’s Groups at your workplace. Almost every large multinational has such work group looking into the welfare of their workforce. This is another way of networking and gaining more experience to add to your resume.
attire & Talk
7. Dress smart, yes! Nobody likes sloppily dressed colleagues, even if it might be untrue, you are automatically cast as incompetent. Like it or not, human beings are influenced by looks and although they maybe deceiving, it forms perceptions. So try to be at least neat and clean when heading to work. Make a good impression and up your self confidence by wearing smart work clothes. You do better when you feel better!
8. Avoid gossiping and being part of groups that are known for lunch hour chit chat sessions. Every company has nooks and corners where snoopy groups and idle chatter takes place. If you want to be in the ‘good books’ of the management, you want to make sure you are not caught with these groups and in these office areas. Absolute No No.
9. Everyone, repeat everyone, appreciates quick responses to emails, returning of phone calls, acknowledgment of inputs received, updates on task status and progress reports. Be approachable, be available, be communicative. Yes, sometimes work can get crazy and things can get out of hand and it is not possible to respond to every email or return every phone call, but make sure you get back or inform the party that it is a bad time or you will respond with a delay. ‘Communicate’ is the key word. You will always be valued if you are an effective communicator.
10. Lastly but not the least- never provide negative and closed responses like “I don’t know “ which sound like “I don’t know and I don’t care and it is not my problem, go figure”. Always provide open ended responses, even if you are not sure of what the answer is. Think of other resources or ways to find the answers. You will always be counted upon as a solution provider or problem solver and somebody folks can rely on. Isn’t that awesome!
At the end of the day, it is up to each individual to put his or her best foot forward. You often come across folks who are fantastic at their work but never get noticed or never get the leadership’s attention due to their lack of networking skills. On the flip side, not so competent workers get the right roles because of their savvy relationship and of knowing how to be ‘out there’ in the eyes of the organization.
The choice is yours.