Meeting the expectations of your job description will make you a valuable asset to your workplace. Exceeding them in a unique way will make you irreplaceable, and that’s essential for the longevity of your career. Making yourself indispensable at work is an important way to ensure job security and gain respect from both your coworkers and supervisor. It can also result in increased job satisfaction and help you attain your career goals. Being indispensable requires strong dedication, effort and work ethic.
The challenge, however, is obvious: most people believe to do better means just to do more. These are the same people that burn themselves out trying to overwork in order to leave a good impression. This isn’t only unsustainable, it’s also not as effective as you might think.
Here are a few tips to establish yourself as an invaluable asset to your workplace:
1. Working longer hours doesn’t make you an asset. People who overdo it are often difficult to work with, snappy, and less efficient. Mostly, though, overworking signals to those around you that you either do not know how to manage your time well, or you’re hungry to prove your importance. Neither is a great look. Remember – it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
2. Develop an exclusive skill. If you want to truly become an invaluable asset, you must figure out what you are capable of doing that’s unique. This is the core principle to any successful endeavor. Instead of trying to be the best at what everyone else is tasked at doing, it’s essential to set yourself apart by proving what you can do that absolutely no one else can. If that’s not feasible, focus on what nobody else can do as efficiently, or perhaps are not willing to do as often.
3. Master the art of prioritization. Productivity experts suggest writing down everything you’d like to do in a day, and then cutting that list in half, and then in half again. What you’re left with is often the absolute essentials. If you get them done and have energy for more, great. If not, that’s OK, too. Tomorrow you’ll be able to tackle new main tasks.
4. Collaborate. Make a practice of including others. Listening to and implementing input can help you become a great team player. Teamwork is often key to success, and working well with others will help make you indispensable.
5. Never stop learning. More essential than anything else is remaining elastic and adaptable. Stay ahead of the curve, tuned into the trends, and consistently willing to learn more and improve what you do. Instead of making yourself irreplaceable for how much grunt work you can accomplish, let your team know that you’re invaluable because you’re an innovator, an action-taker, and a leader.
6. Be reliable. Follow through on what you say you’ll do. The value of an employee’s word is a clear indicator of their work performance.
7. Be consistent. Doing something consistently, and not just when you feel inspired and motivated to do it, is extremely important and a major key to success. Relying too heavily on motivation will defeat you in the long run.
8. Cultivate communication skills. Building clear communication can improve company culture and prevent misunderstandings between managers and employees. Hone and refine your communication style to focus on listening to others, having empathy, and considering individual differences.
9. Be adaptable. The ability to accept change is vital to staying relevant and necessary in your work environment. Showing your adaptability can demonstrate that you are willing to take on new responsibilities and grow in your role.
10. Practice patience. This is one of the most valuable skills to mitigate stress, avoid team conflicts and stay focused on a goal. Building patience is all about knowing what you can control and what you can’t.
11. Be a negotiator. Good negotiation skills can improve your performance and your relationships with clients, coworkers and supervisors. Build rapport with your team and let clients understand that compromise is part of the process.
12. Take initiative. Think proactively about tasks – not just to check them off a list, but to get them done well. Your efforts will not go unnoticed.
Being indispensable can produce feelings of constantly having to live up to high expectations. As a result, if and when you do fail, it can be quite noticeable. However, it’s much better to be seen as indispensable and fail once in a while than not being seen as being indispensable at all.
Forbes (2019, January 24) Brianna West: 7 Things People Who Are Invaluable Assets to Their Workplaces Do Not Do
Indeed (2022, June 24) Indeed Editorial Team: Ways to Become Indispensable at Work