What makes an employee indispensable? When managers have a team of five ambitious workers and only one promotion to hand out, how do they decide who gets the prize? And when budgets tighten and cutbacks become necessary, how do some employees protect themselves from potential job loss?
Here are a few common traits that indispensable employees seem to share. If you bring these qualities to the workplace every day, you'll position yourself for success.
1. They're nice.
While it's sometimes satisfying to believe that nice guys finish last, this is usually just a rationalization for bad behavior. The opposite takes place far more often. Kindness, diplomacy, social awareness, and teamwork rarely go unnoticed if they happen on a consistent basis. If you have any doubts, just remember the last time you saw someone display exceptional courage or tact in your workplace and remember the sense of respect you felt for that person.
2. They can be trusted.
There are few feelings managers enjoy more than complete confidence in their employees. Make sure your managers can use phrases like "I won't be able to attend the meeting, but X will be there in my place, so I know things will be fine." And "yes, this seems like a crisis, but Y is taking care of it, so we have nothing to worry about."
3. They tackle their boss's job, not just their own.
When you approach the last few items in your inbox, what do you do next? Do you sit quietly at your desk playing solitaire and waiting for further instructions? Or do you review the day from your boss's point of view and try to anticipate what she might need and the kinds of challenges she might be facing during the next few hours, days, and weeks? Whatever lies ahead for her is what should lie ahead for you. Find ways to make her job easier and you'll be securing your own position for the long term.
4. They keep things simple.
Trusted employees know how to convey complex information using simple, straightforward language. Providing reports, making recommendations, clarifying instructions, and asking questions are part of almost every professional job, especially at the entry and mid-level. These transactions should be smooth, easy, and direct, not confusing and frustrating.
5. They understand the concept of branding.
Their names are associated with victories, not hassles and problems. Protect your name, and protect your overall image. Dress well every day, show up on time, and stay calm, warm, and collected regardless of the pressures you're facing. The thought of you should make your employer's blood pressure fall, not rise.
6. They speak up.
Great employees don't wait around when they lack the resources they need to do their jobs well. When they face an obstacle, they do everything they can to overcome it on their own, and if that doesn't work, they speak up and reach out for the tools and support they need.
7. They show respect.
Great employees display consistent respect for their employers, their industry, their customers, and their coworkers. When they tackle a task, they also show respect for their own work and efforts, even if they don't fully understand how these efforts support the larger goals of the company. And most of all, they show respect for themselves and the talents they bring to the workplace. If you know that this enterprise wouldn't be the same without you, take pride in this fact. Identify what makes you stand out, and bring this sense of pride to the attention you invest in your resume. Turn to MyPerfectResume for guidance, tips, and formatting tools.