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How to Make Yourself Indispensable in Your Workplace

Inspiration Lab member Alisha Murray-Richardson is the president of RE/MAX Essential — even though she’s never sold real estate. A graduate of the University of North Carolina Wilmington with a degree in communication and media studies, she was profiled in WILMA magazine earlier this year. Alisha, who is passionate about leadership, is also a wife, a mom to a daughter named Natalie, and a triathlete. Below, she details how to become a rock star employee.

Think back to the time when you graduated college and began your career search. You were armed with a perfectly worded résumé and enough volunteer work that would allow you to outshine others. You nailed the interview for your dream job and your new journey began immediately.

Then what?

As a new employee, you start with the simple tasks assigned to your position and begin to excel at mastery. You understand not to jump ahead or rush skill-building and developing relationships, but to focus on becoming a lifelong employee. Chances are, you’ve already identified other key players and those who serve in higher leadership roles at your workplace.

Then what?

How can you develop into a key player and even earn your own leadership role? How do you make yourself indispensable in your workplace?

If you want to be important, then do important work. It’s that simple.

When you are indispensable at work, you create job security and give yourself the opportunity to advance into roles you may not have even considered possible. Career advancements are out there. Continue to stay the course, never stop learning, and excel until your time presents itself.

So, how do you begin?

Become a self-managed employee. Find the self-control and mastery needed to take control of your work. Create a foundation for how to organize your work, rather than being led or controlled by a manager. You don’t have to be a seasoned professional to be insanely great at what you do, but don’t stop there.

Go above and beyond. We hear this so often, yet so few people take action. Be willing to do more than the minimum your job requires. Take the initiative to come up with new ideas while keeping the company’s mission and vision statement in mind. It’s true what they say: “Go the extra mile — it’s never crowded.”

Polish your people skills and have good communication. We all experience an uncomfortable conversation at some point in our career. Knowing how to handle unpleasant situations professionally will earn you a new level of respect. Never forget the golden rule: Treat others with kindness and respect, the way you’d like to be treated. Being able to effectively communicate is essential.

Become a go-to problem-solver. Google is the ruler of all problem-solving, but be the next in line. Sharpen your mastery skills and know how to spot a potential roadblock. Don’t let the roadblock halt you; approach it with alternate solutions in the early stages. Your employer will appreciate your willingness to be a “fixer.” As a result, you’ll become the one your boss will rely on.

Know a little bit about everything (without being a know-it-all). Many times there are multiple levels within an organization. No one is expected to know them all perfectly, but having a base understanding is key. Know the ins and outs of the company; it will help you envision the bigger picture.

Be a contributor to the culture. Employers will appreciate your willingness to cultivate a positive and attractive play to work. This contribution is essential and will foster a sense of pride and ownership among your co-workers. An employer will see this and know the heart of your investment.

“The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is just that little ‘extra.’” -Jimmy Johnson


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