“No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” ― Charles Dickens
When there’s a fire to put out, there is usually someone there, holding the fire extinguisher. It is the same person every time: the one who volunteers to chip in when a client decides he needs that report at the eleventh hour; the one who delivers results. And somehow, they are always calm amid the chaos. When there is chaos, they exude calmness. They might not be wearing a cape, but that person is the office hero.
Every organisation has a “go-to” person and becoming one can provide development opportunities and catapult your career to new heights. Here are a few things you can do to reach hero status:
Be great at what you do. This is your most marketable asset. By being consistent in your core responsibilities and going above and beyond in your own work, you send a message to others that you’re reliable when things get tough.
Step up. Volunteering to pitch in when someone is needed shows people you’re a team player – especially when no one else eagerly jumps in on those less glamorous or downright tedious tasks. When you do, stay positive. This attitude makes you approachable, which is exactly how you want your manager to feel about you when they need help.
Be a problem-solver. Find ways to go above and beyond what you were asked to do. Identify a better way to do the task or make suggestions for improving a process. And when you can’t solve a problem take the initiative to find someone who can—don’t be afraid of letting someone else shine.
Be visible. It’s the only way someone will know to call on you. Fostering relationships through collaboration builds your reputation and expands your own network of resources. So does joining committees and interest groups, engaging in workplace discussion forums, and volunteering to spear-head new initiatives.
Of course, there can be downsides to being the office hero. It’s not always a glamorous role and you don’t always get the recognition you deserve. In fact, you may find it difficult to be everything to everyone; you may get stressed, or worst-case, feel close to burning out. It’s therefore extremely important that you build healthy habits to your work life. Make sure you ask for help when you need it, like asking your manager to help you prioritize your workload, or delegating a less pressing task to someone else with less on their plate. When it’s absolutely too much, learn to say “no”, especially if you feel you’ll be compromising on the quality of your core responsibilities or the new project you’re trying to take on. And finally, take time off when you need it; good employers understand that everyone needs to shut off and recharge the batteries.
Becoming a go-to person takes time. You have to gain the trust of your colleagues and consistently demonstrate that you can be counted on—all excellent traits to strive for. Perhaps the start of this New Year is the perfect time to set goals that get you closer to office hero status.
Are you a go-to person? Are there other traits that helped you reach that status and what challenges do you face? Contribute to the conversation in the comments section below.