Effort is great, but great results are even better.
To increase your influence, you must do more than is expected of you or the bare minimum to get by. If you learn the principles that I share, and eventually turn these principles into habits then the world is your oyster.
You must become an excellent team member, not just an average one. If you want to climb the ladder into more senior positions, then it will be up to you to get there.
I have worked with far too many people who complain that they are told what to do, even though they want to be told what to do. That confuses me, why do they want to be told what to do and then always complain about it.
The reason they do this is because they don’t want any responsibility for their own actions.
I’ve asked people to do certain tasks in the past and some of their most common responses are: “I don’t get paid enough to do that”, “I don’t come here to use my brain”, or “I’m not paid enough to think about it”. Then comes my favourite: “That’s not my job”.
I think every supervisor I ever worked with said the last phrase of “That’s not my job.” They said this whenever they were asked a question by one of the team, and they didn’t know the answer. These supervisors were only average, not excellent.
They were pretty good people, but they were not prepared to put in that extra effort and try to find the answer. Most of the time we either escalated it to their line manager (like the facilities team member did to me when he asked for the mop), never got an answer at all, or we figured it out for ourselves.
If you are one of those people who waits to be told what to do, but you want to become an excellent team member rather than an average one, then you need to stop waiting. How do you do that? You take responsibility and go to your boss and ask what your next task is.
This is a small step, but it’s important because this will stop you from hanging around, and waiting for your boss to come to you. This is also a first step to increasing your influence with your boss, and any other leaders within the organisation.
2. Be On The Lookout
Always be on the lookout for your next task, and be thinking how you and the team can accomplish it. How much help will you need? Will you need special tools? How long will it take? If you show that you are willing to make the first step with your boss and ask, you are on the right path to excellence.
Keep in mind, with an average team member, the boss usually does all the thinking for them. They will need to speak to a few team members to acquire the right information, so the person knows exactly what to do and how to do it.
You want to become excellent, so we are going to rise above that and think for ourselves.
When an average team member is hanging around and waiting to be told, to them it means less time working, but still getting paid for it. So, to them it feels like they’re beating the system. You may hear them saying things like: “Hanging around and waiting is fine by me, I still get paid”. WRONG!
Imagine what other people in earshot of that comment will be doing. They will be spreading the word that they are slacking and reducing their chances of, climbing the ladder. They are also reducing their chances of better pay and increasing their influence throughout the organisation.
By the time you become an excellent team member, you will not be average anymore. So, there will be no more hanging around or waiting for your boss to come to you. There will be no more “That’s not my job” or “I’m not paid enough to think about it”.
You will be craving to increase your influence and make as big a difference as you can within your team, and the organisation. Excellent team members feel embarrassed if they are seen just hanging around and waiting for things to happen. Excellent team members make things happen.
I believe that you can be an excellent team member. In fact, I believe you can become the best person you can be. But you need make changes within yourself to turn things around.
3. See Faster, Go Farther
To be a leader within your team and increase your influence throughout the organisation, you need to SEE FASTER and GO FARTHER. By that I mean, start to recommend to your boss what your next task should be, beat him/her to it.
See what is required next before they do. Then, from the information you receive from the tasks you are completing, see what is required two or three steps down the line. That is what the best team members in any industry in the world do.
Things will start to change for you because you have begun thinking for yourself. Not only that, you are proving to your boss that you can become an excellent team member and a leader. You are showing your boss the way, and not the other way around.
With the recommendations you provide, you are increasing your influence within your own team and the organisation. When your boss sees this, they will spread the word about you to their peers and superiors.
Sometimes what you recommend to your boss might not be what they or the organisation want, but don’t let that hold you back. The information that your boss has is a lot more than what you have, and they know more about what the vision is for the department and the company.
However, your boss will still appreciate your offer of help and the effort you are putting in to recommend solutions and ideas.
If your boss is a good person and believes in developing the team, then they should first explain to you why they don’t want your recommendation. Then they should explain about the vision for the team, the department and the organisation.
The more you learn about what the organisation is striving towards and what your boss wants for the team, the more accurate your recommendations will become in the future.
4. The Big Picture
The better you are at recommending tasks that will strive towards the “bigger picture”, then the more value you add to the organisation.
The reason your boss may not have shared with you their vision, or the vision for the company is because at the moment you are an average team member, and you hang around waiting to be told what to do.
There would be no need for you to know that information if you are not going to put it to use. However, I now know that you will become an excellent team member and want to learn all you can. You want to do this to firstly help yourself, then the team and then your boss.
The more you help, the more you will be helped.
It will take courage to start helping your boss and recommending new tasks or steps. It will also take time to get them right or learn the expectations of your boss.
But I promise you, when your boss is happy with what you are recommending, you will very quickly become the “go to” person for solutions and ideas.
That is when you know that your influence is increasing. When you are the “go to” person, your level of responsibility also increases. Then, eventually (depending on what type of company you work with) they may increase your pay.
Don’t be worrying about pay at this stage. Trust me, the more you offer to help or recommend new ideas, solutions and next steps, they will increase your chances of a pay rise in the future. So, start to put into practice what I am sharing with you and learn as much as you can.
Be prepared to receive some insults from team mates, but don’t let it get to you (easier said than done, I know). It is them with the problem, not you. If you work on making yourself a more valuable team member, you will become more successful. Not the other way around.
Put yourself in your boss’s shoes. Who would be the most valuable to you? A team member who hangs around and waits for you to tell them what to do next? A team member who comes to you and asks you what you want them to do next?
A team member who knows what your vision is and what the company is striving towards? Or a team member who recommends to you ways that you can achieve what you want and what the company wants? The answers are easy.
The truth is, to become that excellent team member and the best person that you can be, then start looking for opportunities to improve yourself. Then, have the courage to give your ideas and recommendations to your boss, and see the difference that you can make.
Always strive to surprise yourself. If you can surprise yourself, then surprising everybody else is easy.
I welcome hearing how this post has influenced the way you think, the way you lead, or the results you have achieved because of what you’ve learned in it. Please feel free to share your thoughts with me by commenting below.
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All the best,