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8 Signs You’re An Indispensable Employee

8 Signs You’re An Indispensable Employee

These days work in an office setting is all about increasing productivity and benefiting the bottom line of the company. For those of us who work in offices, it’s hard to receive feedback or other indication that you are vital to the survival of the company. Even performance reviews aren’t necessarily the best at telling you about your output; they can be perfunctory and awkward. For that reason, I have compiled a list of signs and traits that make an indispensable employee.

1. They are naturally fun and optimistic about assigned tasks.

Regardless of the level of superiority in the company, indispensable employees are cheerful and positive, always taking assigned tasks as if they are a gift and not work. When assigned something to do, they say phrases like, “I’m gonna knock that out,” and “Sounds like a good challenge.” They do so because it is natural to them, but also realizing the fact that a supervisor, especially an inexperienced one, may not feel entirely empowered when doling out tasks.

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2. They are in a specific office because they want to be in that role.

The employee that comes in on Monday bleary-eyed and complaining clearly has numerous priorities higher than work. While I am not saying that indispensable employees are those that do nothing but work, I am saying that they are those who have found the proper work environment to focus and grow their skills. Finding the correct environment leads to a desire to make a difference on a daily basis, and naturally grows the indispensable employee’s skill set, which creates a snowball effect of benefits for both the company and the worker.

3. They are execution-oriented and don’t care who gets the credit.

When sitting in a meeting, indispensable employees aren’t just thinking about the direction of the company or project, but rather about how to get moving in the direction proposed. They are schemers and natural doers that love to see tasks delegated, boxes checked, and deadlines met. The only downside is that they are so focused on getting the task done that they sometimes forget to credit themselves, but, overall, the execution-orientation of indispensable employees is unquenchable.

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4. They advocate well.

In an office setting, advocating for a particular point of view is incredibly difficult. Because of the need to be polite and the need for cohesiveness among team members, advancing your own point of view can sometimes turn turmoil-ridden quickly. Indispensable employees know this and have mastered the art of getting their way without strife. They charm, and do not cajole or belittle. They are relentless but not bothersome, and, at the end of the day, willing to concede defeat on small issues in order to can points for later on.

5. They can teach anything, and learn by doing so.

Indispensable employees are the jacks-of-all-trades, and they do not necessarily want to hold all of that information in. Instead, they desire to share institutional knowledge with coworkers, and gain understanding of their coworkers and their organization by doing so. They are willing to do anything for the company, not because they want to hog the work, but because gaining that skill and being able to pass it along is vital.

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6. They are networkers.

Indispensable employees are often the ones who know who the right person is for the right task. In a large organization, they maintain contacts in each business unit and are always trying to meet more people. At the end of the day, a big circle of people is important, and indispensable employees recognize that having a relationship with both the CEO and the guy who fixes the copier is equally important.

7. They are honest as a principle.

Ben Franklin said that honest is the best policy, and he was right, but maybe not for the reason you think. Honesty, especially in an office setting, creates an indispensable employee because it exposes inefficiencies and untruths sooner. When something is not working out, indispensable employees make it known, because solving a small problem through awkwardness early is better than cleaning up a festering disaster later.

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8. They are self-aware.

This point is tough to advocate for, because self-awareness is not necessarily teachable. But indispensable employees are aware of how they are perceived by coworkers, of how they fit into the overall organization, and of the environment around them. This leads to a crucial understanding of how tasks get executed and the direction the company is seeking. Overall, indispensable employees know who they are, what they’re doing, and how they fit in, and they do so naturally.

Featured photo credit: Interview/Alan Cleaver via flickr.com

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Last Updated on March 30, 2020

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

How to Mind Map to Visualize Your Thoughts (With Mind Map Examples)

Traditionally, when you have a lot of ideas in your mind, you would create a text document, or take a sheet of paper and start writing in a linear fashion like this:

  • Intro to Visual Facilitation
    • Problem, Consequences, Solution, Benefits, Examples, Call to action
  • Structure
    • Why, What, How to, What If
  • Do It Myself?
    • Audio, Images, time-consuming, less expensive
  • Specialize Offering?
    • Built to Sell (Standard Product Offering), Options (Solving problems, Online calls, Dev projects)

This type of document quickly becomes overwhelming. It obviously lacks in clarity. It also makes it hard for you to get a full picture at a glance and see what is missing.

You always have too much information to look at, and most often you only get a partial view of the information. It’s hard to zoom out, figuratively, and to see the whole hierarchy and how everything is connected.

To see a fuller picture, create a mind map.

What Is a Mind Map?

A mind map is a simple hierarchical radial diagram. In other words, you organize your thoughts around a central idea. This technique is especially useful whenever you need to “dump your brain”, or develop an idea, a project (for example, a new product or service), a problem, a solution, etc. By capturing what you have in your head, you make space for other thoughts.

In this article, we are focusing on the basics: mind mapping using pen and paper.

The objective of a mind map is to clearly visualize all your thoughts and ideas before your eyes. Don’t complicate a mind map with too many colors or distractions. Use different colors only when they serve a purpose. Always keep a mind map simple and easy to follow.

    Image Credit: English Central

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    By following the three next steps below, you will be able to create such mind maps easily and quickly.

    3 Simple Steps to Create a Mind Map

    The three steps are:

    1. Set a central topic
    2. Add branches of related ideas
    3. Add sub-branches for more relevant ideas

    Let’s take a look at an example Verbal To Visual illustrates on the benefits of mind mapping.[1]

    Step 1 : Set a Central Topic

    Take a blank sheet of paper, write down the topic you’ve been thinking about: a problem, a decision to make, an idea to develop, or a project to clarify.

    Word it in a clear and concise manner.

      What is the first idea that comes to mind when you think of the subject for your mind map? Draw a line (straight or curved) from the central topic, and write down that idea.

        Step 3 : Add Sub-Branches for More Relevant Ideas

        Then, what does that idea make you think of? What is related to it? List it out next to it in the same way, using your pen.

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          You can always add more to it later, but that’s good for now.

          In our example, we could detail the sub-branch “Benefits” by listing those benefits in sub-branches of the branch “Benefits”. Unfortunately, we already reached the side of the sheet, so we’re out of space to do so. You could always draw a line to a white space on the page and list them there, but it’s awkward.

          Since we created this mind map on a regular letter-format sheet of paper, the quantity of information that fits in there is very limited. That is one of the main reasons why I recommend that you use software rather than pen and paper for most of the mind mapping that you do.

          Repeat Step 2 and Step 3

          Repeat steps 2 and 3 as many times as you need to flush out all of your ideas around the topic that you chose.

            I added first-level (main) branches around the central topic mostly in a clockwise fashion, from top-right to top-left. That is how, by convention, a mind map is read.

            In the next section, we are covering the three strategies to building your maps.  

            Mind Map Examples to Illustrate Mind Mapping

            You can go about creating a mind map in various ways:

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            • Branch by Branch: Adding whole branches (with all of their sub-branches), one by one.
            • Level by Level: Adding elements to the map, one level at a time. That means that firstly, you add elements around the central topic (main branches). Then, you add sub-branches to those main branches. And so on.
            • Free-Flow: Adding elements to your mind map as they come to you, in no particular order.

            Branch by Branch

            Start with the central topic, add a first branch. Focus on that branch and detail it as much as you can by adding all the sub-branches that you can think of.

              Then develop ideas branch by branch.

                A branch after another, and the mind map is complete.

                  Level by Level

                  In this “Level by Level” strategy, you first add all the elements that you can think of around the central topic, one level deep only. So here you add elements on level 1:

                    Then, go over each branch and add the immediate sub-branches (one level only). This is level 2:

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                      Idem for the next level. This is level 3. You can have as many levels as you want in a mind map. In our example, we only have 3 levels. Now the map is complete:

                        Free-Flow

                        Basically, a free flow strategy of mind mapping is to add main branches and sub-topics freely. No rules to restrict how ideas should flow in the mind map. The only thing to pay attention to is that you need to be careful about the level of the ideas you’re adding to the mind map — is it a main topic, or is it a subtopic?

                          I recommend using a combination of the “Branch by Branch” and the “Free-Flow” strategies.

                          What I normally do is I add one branch at a time, and later on review the mind map and add elements in various places to finish it. I also sometimes build level 1 (the main branches) first, then use a “Branch by Branch” approach, and later finish the map in a “Free-Flow” manner.

                          Try each strategy and combinations of strategies, and see what works best for you.

                          The Bottom Line

                          When you’re feeling stuck or when you’re just starting to think about a particular idea or project, take out a paper and start to brain dump your ideas and create a mind map. Mind mapping has the magic to clear your head and have your thoughts organized.

                          If you can’t always have access to a paper and pen, don’t worry! Creating a mind map with software is very effective and you get none of the drawbacks of pen and paper. You can also apply the above steps and strategies just the same when using a mind mapping tool on the phone and computer.

                          More Tools to Help You Organize Thoughts

                          Featured photo credit: Alvaro Reyes via unsplash.com

                          Reference

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