One of my first managers frequently reminded us no one is irreplaceable. He would use the illustration of placing your hands in a bucket and then pulling them out. The level of the water doesn’t change much when one or two hands is removed. While I’m not quite sure that was a healthy demonstration for building team morale, I think there ARE ways a person can make themselves invaluable on a team.
Here are 7 ways to make yourself invaluable to a team:
Be a chief encourager.
Great team members help people feel better about themselves and their contribution to the team. So, be a cheerleader – positive-minded – willing to do whatever it takes to help others, bring enthusiasm and show support for the team and its mission.
Support the vision and direction.
Be a verbal proponent of the overall objectives of the team and where things are going. Develop a reputation of being a team player. Have more good to say about the place than you have bad. Everything might not be wonderful – in fact many things may need changing – but if you can’t support the vision and direction you’ll have a hard time being seen as valuable by others. (And it might be time to consider other opportunities.)
Respect others on the team.
Always be respectful in the way you treat and respond to everyone on the team – regardless of their position. Recognize everyone is not like you. People like different things and respond differently than you would respond. Value other people’s opinions and viewpoints.
Give more than is required of you.
This doesn’t mean you have to work more hours. It might. But it might mean you work smarter than everyone else. Plan your day better. Be better at setting goals and objectives. Hold yourself accountable.
Be an information hub.
Be well read and share what you learn. Not in an arrogant way, but information is king. Be a king of it. Understand trends and be current in your field with new ideas and innovations that might make the organization better.
Celebrate other people’s success.
Send notes or encouragement when someone does something well. Brag on other people. Tell others what you admire about them. (Without being creepy – of course.)
Be a good listener.
Everyone loves the person they can go to and know they will be genuinely listened to. A good person to bounce ideas off of or who lends a caring ear is invaluable to the team. (And be sure to keep every confidence afforded to you.)