...coming from someone who has little to zero experience at being one (a whopping 13 months lol ). But even still, I think it’s an interesting topic and one I wanted to try and write about! Plus I’d LOVE to hear your thoughts and experiences on this topic. I think we could get a really cool conversation going in the comments!
When it comes to work, there are two types of people. Those who meet expectations and those who exceed them. The former – those who simply get it done – are great, reliable, hard workers. They meet expectations and complete tasks in a timely manner. All good things obviously. But then there are the latter; those who take things to another level. Who not only get the job done, but go above and beyond. These are the employees that advance in their careers, stick out amongst their peers, and ultimately become almost indispensable.
I don’t work for anyone anymore (since I’m doing the whole full-time blogging thing these days), but I think many of the traits that make an employee indispensable are relevant no matter what position you’re in – whether you’re running the show, starring in it, or working backstage (ha! me and my analogies). As such, I thought it might be an interesting blog post topic that most everyone could find valuable.
Ask for feedback
I wish I knew WHERE I initially heard the phrase: it’s difficult for anyone to operate in a vacuum. But I always replay this in my mind – like several times a week actually (super relevant to my job, life, relationships, etc.). Regardless of which area of life you consider – whether it be work or even relationships, working out, medical treatment, etc. – we need feedback in order to keep moving forward and stay motivated. Without knowing how we’re doing, it’s hard to know how we can do better. Some offices do a really great job at facilitating the feedback loop, but a lot of office environments don’t. Whatever the case, don’t be afraid to ask for it yourself!
I feel like this one goes without saying because doesn’t every one think that this is every bosses dream? To have an employee that can read his/her mind – anticipating needs and taking initiative to get things done without being told to. Talk about an office MVP.
Once you’ve got the hang of your job and responsibilities, try to always be thinking of ways you can be one step ahead of management (or whomever) in making their jobs easier. They’ve got a lot to worry about already (like my old manager had 4 projects he was juggling – #ICouldNever), so anything you can do to make their job more seamless will be GOLD.
Be aware of the bottom-line
In every business, there is revenue, and likewise a bottom-line that can be improved. There’s some kind of product, service, or experience you’re delivering in exchange for monetary value (I’m sure there are exceptions but let’s not go there). The point is that just about every business has some sort of revenue structure sustaining operations (keeping the business going) that YOU and every other employee is a part of.
Being aware of how that works and understanding how your role plays a part in the bigger picture (revenue-generating, specifically) is important. You’ll enjoy your job more because you’ll see the value you’re providing, which will in turn motivate you to do an even better job. Also, if you understand how your responsibilities fit into the business as a whole, then you can anticipate ways to improve and take initiative. I feel like I didn’t explain this very well, but it makes sense right? Basically, try to understand the bigger picture and how you fit into the way the business makes money. Is there a way you can help cut costs? Generate more revenue? Be more efficient with time?
Avoid Spinning Your Wheels
I hadn’t heard this term until I started working as an accountant and just about all my “seniors” (my direct bosses) used it all the time to encourage us to ask questions rather than waste time. Basically, don’t be stubborn (or prideful) and waste valuable time trying to figure something out (making zero progress aka spinning wheels without moving) when you can ask a question. Oh and speaking of asking questions! Be sure to keep them grouped together and instead of interrupting with every question – ask them all at once if you can! That’s probably a dumb tip – but it just popped in my head from the good ‘ole days (ha).
Keep Up with Trends & News in the Industry
I don’t really know what to say about this other than I think it’s important. If you’re going to spend a lot of your time at work doing this thing, you might as well also understand what’s going on in the bigger picture with the industry.
Summarize Progress + Encourage The Feedback Loop
Like I said, I don’t have much experience working for someone but one thing I’ll never forget is an email I got from one of my managers while working on a year-end audit (if you’re new – I was a CPA). And the only way for me to explain this is to toot my own horn.
So let me set this up for you. A year-end audit is a very stressful time for just about everyone. And I’d only been working there for a few months, but it became very clear to me that my manager was juggling a lot. I’m trying to keep this short (very hard), but I realized early on that it was helpful to everyone on the team to know the status of my work – especially everything I was working on without having to ask. So I started an excel spreadsheet on google docs (this is just what worked for us – the concept is what I’m getting at) where I would document all my “tasks” and things I was working on. And if something was on hold – either because I was waiting to hear back from someone, etc. – then I would specify what that was and the date I had done something about it.
Note Your Vibes
I know it’s not realistic to be in a Positive Polly mood all the time, but I DO think it’s important to be aware of how influential our emotional states can be on those around us. There’s something about negativity that really KILLS things around it – even when it’s surrounded by momentum and positivity. I don’t know what it is, but negative energy is contagious. That being said, it’s really important to try and keep a positive attitude (yet also realistic of course) at the office. I called this “note your vibe” because I really feel like positive people have a certain “vibe” to them that rubs off on people – and others enjoy working with you too.
Voice Your Opinion
Obviously, there is a time and place to do this and the appropriateness of expressing you opinion will depend on a number of factors. But I do think it’s important to encourage you to make an effort to express your viewpoint or opinion on things you feel strongly about – even when you disagree. Some of the best blog post ideas (or projects, etc.) have come from conversations Lisel and I have had where she disagreed or gave me lots of push back. This is a good thing! And I respect her for it because I know I can trust her opinion and am able to bounce ideas off of her while I’m still in the “massaging-it-out” stage (ha if that makes sense?). Anyway, I think having an opinion is really important in the work place – especially when you’re able to articulate it confidently.
Don’t Wait for Work
If you run out of things to do, don’t wait for work to come to you. Be active and forward thinking in making the most out of your time and your position/responsibilities. It’s easy to check things off a list – anyone can do that. Instead, think about ways you can anticipate needs and take initiative (like I mentioned above).
Again, it’s easy to follow instructions and do what you’re told, but it’s going to REALLY stand out if you’re someone who goes the extra mile and initiates. Most employees will meet expectations (if they want to keep their job), but the BEST employees will continue to exceed them. And that hard work will never go unnoticed – no matter what industry you’re in!
Now let’s chat!
What did you think?! Did you find this article helpful and/or motivating to ramp up your MVP employee game? Or even if you don’t work for someone, I still think just about ALL of these concepts/skills/tips could be applied to work in general and even relationships in general. Let’s chat in the comments below – would love to hear your initial thoughts or what stuck out to you!
Outfit Details: Gingham Wrap top (wearing size XS – checkout how the model tied her bow, it looks SO much better than how I did lol) // Cropped Pants // Heels // Sunglasses // Chanel Earrings c/o Switch (I talked about them in this post)
Photos: Angie Garcia Photography