7 Ways To Become Indispensable At Work
Instead of clocking in and out of work every day, wouldn't it be nice knowing that you were irreplaceable when it came to your department and boss? That everyone valued your skills and ideas? You can be — as long as you work to become indispensable at work. You'll have a whole other feeling riding that elevator up to your floor knowing that the whole operation can come crashing down without you.
Alright, so it might not be quite that dramatic, but it really is a great accomplishment to know that your work is valued and that you're giving it your all rather than coasting. Not only will it make you an absolute asset for the next job you try to apply to, but it will make your coworkers and boss really appreciate your talents and effort. So how exactly do you get there?
First things first, you need to give the extra mile. I'm not saying to work 60 hour weeks, but you have to be willing to roll up your sleeves and really carve out a name for yourself in your industry. And I'll show you exactly how — below are seven ways to become indispensable at work.
1. Shake Up Your To-Do List
Rather than focusing on easy house-keeping tasks and routine to-dos, instead change your focus towards those projects that will really influence and bring change to the company. Amy Hoover, president of Talent Zoo, told Forbes, "“To become indispensable, you’ll want to dig deeper and really think about the work that matters to the company and its success. Tackle those projects first." While it's important to answer emails, do your filing, and keep up with spreadsheets, what you really want to do is figure out what brings in big money to the office and what your boss holds in the highest regard. By focusing on those topics rather than spending half the day doing small tasks, it'll be hard not to notice you.
2. Don't Be A Yes Man
It can feel uncomfortable throwing out an idea that opposes your boss's plans or suggesting something that is the opposite of what everyone else agrees with, but by bringing forth new ideas and perspectives you become a real asset to your company. You begin to lead by not being afraid of hearing counter-points or opposition, and in that way you can either start a new conversation that can create new ideas or at least make people look at situations in more innovative ways.
Marsha Egan, a business leader coach, told Forbes, “By applying yourself in a way that provides new and valuable thinking that benefits your company, you become a thought leader.” And leaders are always very valuable when it comes to teams.
3. Assert Your Value
Don't be one of those people that fly underneath the radar — instead, be so good and dedicated to what you do that your value shows itself. Quip up in meetings with ideas, help others when they need it, talk about your accomplishments and what you're working on, and always have a perky attitude that shows you're excited to be there. CEO and entrepreneur writer Lolly Daskal from entrepreneur site Inc offered, "Be the one people reach out to — the one from whom people seek mentorship and coaching, information, and solutions." You assert your value by proving to those around you you not only know your information, but you're willing to share it. You'll be their go-to person, which makes you indispensable.
4. Push A Little Outside Of Your Role
Even if your work role is well defined, don't be scared to toe a little outside of it. You never know where your title can evolve to, and a willingness to pick up the extra slack or take on new and out-of-comfort-zone projects goes a long way. Daskal pointed out, "Do everything you can to make more of yourself. Volunteer for tasks outside your usual role; be eager to step up and take on more than your share. Do it with openness and effectiveness and a willing heart and mind, and it will make you invaluable." You'll be seen as the team player — the person that doesn't mind helping out and doing more than they're expected to. And that's invaluable.
5. Prioritize According To Your Boss' Preferences
If there are certain tasks, projects, clients, or workflows that your boss sees as critical to the company, focus on those first. That doesn't mean you have to throw your pet projects out the window, but by putting importance on the work they see as high level, they'll notice that you're on top of things and doing your all to help build the company upwards. Lifestyle writer Alan Henry from Lifehack wrote, "it's also a great way to make sure you're always seen as jumping right on the important things, getting those things done, and smart about how you prioritize your work." Even if you were going to get to it later in that same day, by starting on it first it creates a more powerful impression for your boss.
6. Be Hella Reliable
If there's a crisis with a project or a task gets handed to you that seems critical, be the type of person that gets it done when it should and is willing to help out as much as needed. Nothing is worse than the person that says "that's not my job" and leaves you hanging, so try to give off the opposite of that character. Be the one the office can rely on, and they'll never want to let you go.
Business writer Sarah Boisvert from career development site Levo offered, "Outstanding reliability doesn’t just mean showing up on time. A real team-player is there when things get tough, so helping out in a pinch will show a higher level of reliability than the average employee." Never abandon a crisis, don't step out on a tricky mess, and be ready with solutions or at least proposed game plans. People don't forget those that haul butt during a crisis, and they don't let go of those they learn to rely on.
7. Try To Get Onto High Priority Projects
You know those projects that take up a lot of long hours, a lot of brainstorming, and that everyone in the company knows about? If your name is constantly attached to those high-effort, high-importance pieces, then people will rightfully believe that you bring a lot to the table and are an asset. Henry pointed out, "As long as your contributions on those projects are useful and you do good work, you'll quickly be essential to the success of the project. By extension, the more important that project is, the more essential you are."
And when you're constantly bringing forth great work on major projects, who in their right mind would let you go? By staying visible in the office, helping things run as smoothly as possible, and focusing on the tasks that mean the most to the company, you'll quickly become indispensable. So keep that great work up.