Are you an irreplaceable employee? If not, you need to dig in and figure out how to be so vital to the business that they cannot function without you. Here are some great tips from Laurence Shatkin, Ph.D, from his new book “150 Best Jobs for a Secure Future.”
1. Focus on the core mission of the business. Many businesses diversify and serve several functions, but usually there’s a central mission that makes money and determines whether the business will succeed or fail. Identify that central function and play a role in it. Identify the skills the business needs for future development of this function and acquire them.
2. Accept change. Better yet, be a part of it. Keep abreast of new business methods, especially for handling communication and information, and find ways to use them in your work. The attitude ‘We’ve always done it this way’ will not advance the organization’s mission.
3. Be exceptionally productive. This doesn’t necessarily mean working longer hours. It’s more important to find a task or role you can handle that goes beyond your job description. Here again, skills are important because they are the key to productivity. If you have any time and energy to spare, volunteer to take over a small task that unburdens your manager or a co-worker; this both broadens your skill set and showcases your productivity. Don’t catch yourself saying, ‘That’s not my job.’
4. Be visible. In many businesses, the person whose office is next to the boss’s tends to get the best performance appraisals. If you don’t have that office, find ways to make your accomplishments known; don’t wait for performance-appraisal season.
5. Acquire a mentor. Find someone who really knows the business, be helpful, and ask a lot of very specific questions, including questions about how to improve your work. Give public credit to the mentor for the advice you get.
6. Be pleasant. Be someone customers like to deal with. Find ways to say positive things about your co-workers and promote their accomplishments. Back-stabbing may seem like a way to get ahead, but it can hurt you in the long run. Abrasiveness or whining may make you stand out, but for the wrong reasons. If you really can’t get along with some people in your work group, try to be transferred to one where you’ll fit in better.