How to Make Yourself Irreplaceable at Work

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Learn my four strategies for making yourself an indispensable team member at work. If you want to improve job security, become an asset to your company, and be irreplicable, this lesson is for you!

Chances are if you’re tuning in right now, you want to know how to be a better team member. But not just a better team member, you want to be an indispensable team member.

An indispensable team member is someone who has both job security and a true zeal for what they do. They’re seen as irreplaceable, indispensable, and indisposable. That’s a really good feeling, wouldn’t you say? I’m sharing top tips for being this kind of team member and be sure to stay tuned for the most important tip at the end of this lesson.

Let’s jump right in.

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When positioning yourself as an essential team member here is what you need to work on.

We’re breaking it down into three major categories.

Communicate Effectively

Communication is what makes the world go around. The better the communication, the better the outcomes. Within this vein is an invaluable part of communication, rapport-building. Make sure that you’re on good terms with not only your supervisor, but also your colleagues. Keep an open dialogue with them, be it in person, over email, or on Slack. Keep others abreast of progress, pain points, and developments. A good communicator is also someone who listens well. Be that person. When you give a lending ear, this won’t go unnoticed. If you keep your head down, and keep to yourself, you’re not building rapport and you’re not being a good listener to someone. When you work towards creating authentic work relationships built on a solid foundation, you’ve developed a strong connection with the person and they know they can trust you because you made an effort to be there for them: even if that means taking an extra 30 minutes a week to listen to them. When you’re communicating, do so in as transparent and authentic manner as possible. As Benjamin Franklin said, “honesty is the best policy.”

Work Smart

Working hard is one thing. That’s table stakes these days: everyone is working hard. What you need to be doing now is working smart. Go the extra mile with your tasks and projects. Don’t just stick to your narrow niche. Go beyond the scope to expand your role. Learn from others not just on your team, but on other teams. If you’re on the design team, befriend people in marketing and learn from them. Or chat with your friends in the software development space. The point is, develop more interests and learn more. If this means volunteering for projects or signing up for tasks outside of your general job description, that’s showing eagerness and ambition. When you pair that ambition with humility and willingness, you’re setting yourself up to be an invaluable team member and employee. In this case, don’t just mind your own business. Go out there and make more of yourself by learning more and being more. As Ralph Waldo Emerson so aptly put, “Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you.”

Foster the Right Attitude

What’s the right attitude? The right attitude is about being adaptable to not only roll with the punches and pull your own weight, but about knowing that change is inevitable. The right attitude is about being open minded. That means, open to new ideas and new ways of doing things. It’s about being amenable to various ways of executing on objectives. Everyone has their own flare and we don’t all do things the same way. Be open to alternatives. Expand your mind. The right attitude is someone who is positive most of the time. And I say most of the time, because it’s just unrealistic to be in a good mood or optimistic mindset 100%. Try to vibe with your highest frequency most of the time, because that affects our interpersonal communication and our output, both of which are important when working with teams. 

Now that we’ve covered these three major categories, it’s time to reveal my number one strategy for being an invaluable team member. Are you ready for it? Write this one down. Here it is:

“Under promise, over deliver.”

This is a gem of a strategy and a huge game changer for anyone who's tried this. What does it mean? Under promise but over deliver.

Simply put, it’s about being selective about what you commit to. In other words, when you commit to something you need to go all-in and you are in charge of an important deliverable. You’ve got to follow through or else there will be ramifications. This is why it’s important to only make the commitments you can keep. This is why under promising is so powerful. You don’t commit to something you’re only half sure you have the bandwidth for. Instead, you make it clear that you’re not committing to this task or producing that deliverable. And if you do have the capacity for it, you execute on it and go above and beyond. This second part is what we mean by overdeliver. In synchrony, you can think of the under promise and overdeliver as a power couple. Together, they’re the ultimate powerhouse. This allows you to be careful of what you commit to and then when someone least expects it, you’ve executed on an important deliverable.

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So there we have it. Strategies for helping you become an indispensable team member. Communicate as effectively as possible, focus on working smart over just working hard, adopt a team player attitude, and under promise but over deliver.

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