3 Things Essential to Being Essential
As we are moving or continuing to stay virtual, it is important to stay connected with your team. You can become and remain an essential team member, even if you’re not rubbing elbows with your colleagues. Think of people you enjoy working with, people who you know have your back whenever you're on a project together, or things are getting busy at work. There are probably many reasons why you like working with them, but these three keys to being an essential member of your team, office, and organization are likely all present. They all influence each other. Trust and communication are vital to good relationships and vice versa; if you're good at one, chances are you're on your way to being good at the other two.
We know we talk about this one all the time, but it really is that important. Everything we do involves communication in some form, so being good at it is a huge factor in your success as well as your business's. How you communicate with people influences how they respond; it's important to keep in mind body language, tone, and word choice, and keep your medium consistent so you don't muddle your message. Remember that honesty leads to trust, so be gentle, but also be straight with people and you'll earn their trust and respect.
When working virtually, it is even more important to stay connected with good communication, even erring on the side of over-communication. Pay attention to the communication preferences of your team. If it’s easier for your teammate to receive a Teams chat, do that instead of an email, or vice-versa if the opposite is true.
Do what you said you would do. Following up and following through are key to earning someone's trust and letting them know they can count on you, which is also essential to fostering good office relationships. Don't just tell people they can trust you...show them!
The same applies to the virtual world. Pay attention to your workload so you don’t take on too many things (trust us, we’ve been there). When you do take something on, do it! And, remember how we said these all influence each other? Well, communication is the deliverable until you have the deliverable, so make sure you are communicating while you are doing.
Trust and integrity go hand in hand, and it's hard to build a relationship when either one is lacking. Be mindful and respectful of people who aren't present. Thinking of them and sticking up for them shows others how you will treat them when they step out of the room...
...and the Zoom. This becomes extra important when you are working with a hybrid team. If you are working with some in the office and some virtually, you need to be mindful of what your virtual team members need to not only complete their work, but also feel included. Relationships can be difficult to build and maintain over technology, but they don’t have to be. Take some time and schedule a virtual coffee (or tea) with your coworkers. Spend 15-20 minutes just catching up, not about work.
These three areas, in theory, aren't all that complicated. But when it comes to becoming an essential team member, their implementation often has room for improvement, just like anything else in life. Are you ready to work on becoming even more essential?