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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 29, 2021

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

5 Types of Horrible Bosses and How to Beat Them All

When I left university I took a job immediately, I had been lucky as I had spent a year earning almost nothing as an intern so I was offered a role. On my first day I found that I had not been allocated a desk, there was no one to greet me so I was left for some hours ignored. I happened to snipe about this to another employee at the coffee machine two things happened. The first was that the person I had complained to was my new manager’s wife, and the second was, in his own words, ‘that he would come down on me like a ton of bricks if I crossed him…’

What a great start to a job! I had moved to a new city, and had been at work for less than a morning when I had my first run in with the first style of bad manager. I didn’t stay long enough to find out what Mr Agressive would do next. Bad managers are a major issue. Research from Approved Index shows that more than four in ten employees (42%) state that they have previously quit a job because of a bad manager.

The Dream Type Of Manager

My best manager was a total opposite. A man who had been the head of the UK tax system and was working his retirement running a company I was a very junior and green employee for. I made a stupid mistake, one which cost a lot of time and money and I felt I was going to be sacked without doubt.

I was nervous, beating myself up about what I had done, what would happen. At the end of the day I was called to his office, he had made me wait and I had spent that day talking to other employees, trying to understand where I had gone wrong. It had been a simple mistyped line of code which sent a massive print job out totally wrong. I learn how I should have done it and I fretted.

My boss asked me to step into his office, he asked me to sit down. “Do you know what you did?” I babbled, yes, I had been stupid, I had not double-checked or asked for advice when I was doing something I had not really understood. It was totally my fault. He paused. “Will you do that again?” Of course I told him I would not, I would always double check, ask for help and not try to be so clever when I was not!

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“Okay…”

That was it. I paused and asked, should I clear my desk. He smiled. “You have learnt a valuable lesson, I can be sure that you will never make a mistake like that again. Why would I want to get rid of an employee who knows that?”

I stayed with that company for many years, the way I was treated was a real object lesson in good management. Sadly, far too many poor managers exist out there.

The Complete Catalogue of Bad Managers

The Bully

My first boss fitted into the classic bully class. This is so often the ‘old school’ management by power style. I encountered this style again in the retail sector where one manager felt the only way to get the best from staff was to bawl and yell.

However, like so many bullies you will often find that this can be someone who either knows no better or is under stress and they are themselves running scared of the situation they have found themselves in.

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The Invisible Boss

This can either present itself as management from afar (usually the golf course or ‘important meetings) or just a boss who is too busy being important to deal with their staff.

It can feel refreshing as you will often have almost total freedom with your manager taking little or no interest in your activities, however you will soon find that you also lack the support that a good manager will provide. Without direction you may feel you are doing well just to find that you are not delivering against expectations you were not told about and suddenly it is all your fault.

The Micro Manager

The frustration of having a manager who feels the need to be involved in everything you do. The polar opposite to the Invisible Boss you will feel that there is no trust in your work as they will want to meddle in everything you do.

Dealing with the micro-manager can be difficult. Often their management style comes from their own insecurity. You can try confronting them, tell them that you can do your job however in many cases this will not succeed and can in fact make things worse.

The Over Promoted Boss

The Over promoted boss categorises someone who has no idea. They have found themselves in a management position through service, family or some corporate mystery. They are people who are not only highly unqualified to be managers they will generally be unable to do even your job.

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You can find yourself persistently frustrated by the situation you are in, however it can seem impossible to get out without handing over your resignation.

The Credit Stealer

The credit stealer is the boss who will never publically acknowledge the work you do. You will put in the extra hours working on a project and you know that, in the ‘big meeting’ it will be your credit stealing boss who will take all of the credit!

Again it is demoralising, you see all of the credit for your labour being stolen and this can often lead to good employees looking for new careers.

3 Essential Ways to Work (Cope) with Bad Managers

Whatever type of bad boss you have there are certain things that you can do to ensure that you get the recognition and protection you require to not only remain sane but to also build your career.

1. Keep evidence

Whether it is incidents with the bully or examples of projects you have completed with the credit stealer you will always be well served to keep notes and supporting evidence for projects you are working on.

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Buy your own notebook and ensure that you are always making notes, it becomes a habit and a very useful one as you have a constant reminder as well as somewhere to explore ideas.

Importantly, if you do have to go to HR or stand-up for yourself you will have clear records! Also, don’t always trust that corporate servers or emails will always be available or not tampered with. Keep your own content.

2. Hold regular meetings

Ensure that you make time for regular meetings with your boss. This is especially useful for the over-promoted or the invisible boss to allow you to ‘manage upwards’. Take charge where you can to set your objectives and use these meetings to set clear objectives and document the status of your work.

3. Stand your ground, but be ready to jump…

Remember that you don’t have to put up with poor management. If you have issues you should face them with your boss, maybe they do not know that they are coming across in a bad way.

However, be ready to recognise if the situation is not going to change. If that is the case, keep your head down and get working on polishing your CV! If it isn’t working, there will be something better out there for you!

Good luck!

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