A young man came to me once seeking advice for starting a new position. He wanted to know how he could set himself apart and make himself a valuable team member.
I loved the question. It showed intentionality and purpose on his part. I think that has to be step one—asking good questions and seeking wise answers—and he was already doing it.
I was impressed enough I decided not to give him just a few suggestions, but to give him a dozen.
12 ways to make yourself valuable as a team member:
Be an encourager of others on the team. We all have bad days occasionally, so it’s nice to know someone on the team who always has a smile and finds joy in making others joyful.
Embrace change willingly. Change is coming—whether we like it or not. The one who remains positive when others are negative—even in the midst of change—is golden for creating a healthy team environment.
Speak words of affirmation to others. Recognize things other people do right. Consider the interests of other people ahead of your own personal recognition.
Laugh deep and smile often. It’s hard to frown back, even on the worst days, when someone flashes a genuine smile at you.
Value other people’s opinions. People want to be heard. They appreciate when they believe someone genuinely cares to hear what they have to say.
Remain steadfast to vision and values. Loyalty is a rare and attractive quality. Believe in the place where you work. If you can’t, it might be time to consider somewhere else to invest your time and energy.
Be flexible with methods. “Let’s get it done”—whatever it takes—is a great way to set yourself apart from the norm of a team.
Genuinely love people. Love even those who are more difficult to love. (This quality alone will set you apart from most others.)
Give more than required. It’s been said to “under-promise and over-deliver.” Yea, something like that. Certainly do what’s expected with excellence—and, without complaining.
Think critically for improvement. Being cooperative doesn’t mean you are void of opinions. In a respectful way, offer helpful suggestions. Be humble and purposeful in adding value to the team.
Never gossip or talk bad about another team member. Everything you say will come back around to you. If you have a problem with someone, talk to them personally, before you talk to anyone else. Here’s a standard—make sure you’d be OK if whatever is repeated from your mouth was hung in the break room bulletin board.
Have a servant’s heart. Jesus said, “The greatest among us must be a servant.” Never let any job or task be beneath you. Value other people and their roles on the team. Regardless of your “rank,” see your job as an opportunity to serve others.
What would you add to my list?
This article originally appeared here.