There are two key reasons why you want to stand out from the crowd at work and be seen as a contributor, who adds value. Well three actually
The first reason is to avoid the pain of being made redundant, the person the management decides is disposable. There is no such thing anymore as job security or a job for life. Management are continually under pressure to cut just a little more from their budget, squeeze just a bit more productivity out of their team.
So you need to actively manage your career, contribute more than everyone else, don’t give anyone reason to consider you as the next to go.
Make sure you keep your professional skills up to date. Master any new technology your business uses, volunteer to do extra tasks or projects, make yourself indispensable.
Create a scenario where management would say “No we need to keep so and so, they are the only person who can do ….. a key task “ or “They are best at ……a key task”.
Be the person who can cover all the other jobs in the department when someone is ill or on leave.
And be the person the line manager discusses ideas with when they need a sounding board, the one asked to represent the department at meetings, or the person who organises all the office seasonal celebrations, and charity events.
But don’t neglect your own work to do these things. Work smarter.
Raise your profile, but in a good way.
The second reason you want to be seen as a contributor is that you want to be in line for promotion-and the best way to get a promotion is to act like you already have it!
Take on more than you have to. Over perform, over deliver, demonstrate your value to your manager, colleagues and clients, every day. Adding value will safe-guard your career and propel you to the next level.
Show initiative, manage your career, and demonstrate your personal achievements and your professional development, and your capacity for leadership.
This doesn’t mean being bossy and taking over other people’s roles, but just be there when needed and quietly and efficiently get things done.
Look out for improvements and suggest them, try them out, show your ideas can be effective and save time, money, or effort.
Offer to help others in the team who have a heavy workload, tight deadlines, and difficult problems to solve.
Think ahead, anticipate problems, think like a manager and develop solutions to those problems.
Deal with problems. Involve your line manager if you should but don’t take the problem to your manager, take the solution. “This is the problem, I think we should handle it like this because …”
And the third reason you want to contribute and add value is that in this life, you get out what you put in. If you skimp on effort at work, do as little as you can, and spend your day waiting for the hands of the clock to go round-where is the job satisfaction in that?
But if you throw yourself into every project, excel at what you do, are highly regarded by peers and managers, and enjoy your job, then work doesn’t feel like a chore, you enjoy it, there will be job satisfaction.
And you won’t need to fear the axe, you will be promoted, and the financial rewards will be literally, a bonus!