What makes a great team member?

Performance is the number one quality that separates the average staff from an exceptional one.  It does not matter the economic times or conditions;

Performance is the number one quality that separates the average staff from an exceptional one.  It does not matter the economic times or conditions; all leaders will hold on to their exceptional staff. The role of any leader is to attract the best staff to join his or her team. And once they join, to keep them, as s/he lets the average or non-performers to go.

The primary role of the leader is to set the vision and find the right team to deliver it. Anyone who does not fit is identified and removed. Like a tree, new leaves come, and old leaves dry and fall off. But the stem and branches will always stay on the tree unless it is cut down! Are you a leaf or a branch or a stem? Great performers are branches.

If you ask me, what makes a great team member, the response is a great performance. Leaders want exceptional performers. Staff who know what to do and deliver it on time. Folks who do not have to be reminded about what to do, and how to do it. All you must do is to share with them the vision and their rest, they will do it.

Winners are people who go beyond their job descriptions to support the team to achieve. They even do not look for the spotlight. They let their results do the magic. Click To Tweet

To be a performer you must report early and embrace tasks that most team members try to avoid. You must be the person who is helpful that any day you do not show at the office, all team members notice immediately because they see gaps. If you are the guy who summarizes the newspapers daily and sends it to all staff at your level, with time, many people start waiting for your news briefs instead of running to get copies of the newspapers. Now, a day you do not send the brief, everyone gets to notice instantly. That is the power of usefulness.

Now, remember, no company would give anyone a job description of reviewing daily newspapers to take note of new CEO appointments, request for proposal opportunities, noteworthy news in which the company name is mentioned, or company relevant announcement. Any staff who takes an initiative to read papers and provide a summary would instantly add value and their email could become the must-read by all the top honchos in the company.

That is what I did when I worked at one of the organizations. I enquired from the managing director’s assistant, what the CEO took a lot of time doing especially in the mornings to which she told me, “reviewing daily newspapers.” What does he look out for, I probed to which she answered: “new CEO appointments or tenders that are relevant for our company.”

I had the password.

And the following day, for the next one year, I made it a habit to be early in the office by 6 am, get the daily newspapers before anyone else, and summarize the newspapers. After a month, of daily posting, no one even noticed my efforts. However, in the third month, I started receiving acknowledgements and some positive vibes. Finally, I was getting noticed.

You see, many people start new projects and give up early before people start to appreciate the value. The fact that I had planned to invest 12 months into the new initiative, my mind was ready for the long haul…

And by the six months, I was a darling to all the top people. One of the directors sent me an email of the other issues to look out for in the newspapers and asked his secretary to send his other subscriptions like the East African and other Kenyan dailies to my desk for summaries after which I send back to his office! I was now in the CEO’s face, in the literal meaning.

And I continued to shine on my primary responsibilities. If you want to rise quickly through the ranks, become a person all top people know of and become a possible candidate for quick promotion, up to your game.

Be an exceptional performer. Keep your ears on the ground. Understand the pains of your immediate supervisors, know the company strategy by the heart, and provide solutions that have aha factor. Do not mind your supervisor taking your ideas as if it is his or hers. Just give her the insights because they will always protect you since they cannot continue to shine unless you are behind their back.

What a better way to be a valuable team member.

Remember, never try to outshine your boss, or try to threaten their positions. They are your boss for a reason. Just work behind them. Help them shine. They cannot progress far without you close by.

In these #coronavirus times, up to your game. No employer can layoff a performer. Only if the company is closing. Even in that case, you would be the last to pack.

Copyright Mustapha B Mugisa, 2020.

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