You are not your position. Whether you’re a manager, an executive, or a subordinate; everyone is a leader when they take ownership and hold themselves accountable for outcomes. As a subordinate, you don’t have to wait for your boss to tell you what to do to add value; you can take it upon yourself to do so without permission.
Here are 8 principles that will enable you to add value and be impactful:
- Develop an owner’s mindset;
- Be a learn-it-all;
- Make an impact;
- Jump on opportunities;
- Solve problems;
- Learn to manage up;
- Be accountable;
- Act with a sense of urgency;
Develop an owner’s mindset
Ownership isn’t doing everything yourself. Don’t wait for help to arrive. Go get it. An owner seeks help before deadlines are missed. If you own it, you can’t let it fail. If you’re in over your head – and often you are – seek help.
Here are some actionable steps to help you develop an owner’s mindset:
- Step up and lead;
- Know the business;
- Do a little extra;
- Do the job that’s needed;
- Do more with less;
- Go beyond your job description.
Be a learn-it-all
This is about developing a habit of learning. How? Here are a few actionable ways:
- Be curious about topics that you don’t necessarily think about.
- Read books, listen to podcasts about anything that interests you.
- Engage with people who don’t think like you.
- Hang out with perpetual learners.
- Take on a project that you’ve never done before.
The more you know the more versatile you become. And the more you know the more problems you can solve creatively.
Make an impact
To make an impact:
- Make sure you are long-term greedy and consider the big picture in every decision;
- Use first-principle thinking to ask the right questions;
- Avoid sunk cost bias;
- Focus on the work that matters, using a prioritization matrix.
Jump on opportunities
Want to be a great team mate, and leader? Following the previous point, look for opportunities to make an impact. Here are a few ways to to be an opportunity-digger and create opportunities at work:
- Volunteer internally;
- Initiate a project;
- Offer to take the load off of your manager;
- Seek mentorship;
- Help others.
How to identify problems:
- Find pains;
- Find ways to increase efficiency;
- Do proactive opportunity-digging;
How to solve problems:
- View problems as opportunities;
- Figure it out;
- Use lateral thinking to find a creative solution;
Learn to manage up
Managing up is one the most important skills any subordinate must have in order to be recognized as impactful. Here’s how:
- Get to know your manager;
- Understand their goals;
- Learn to anticipate their needs.
To be accountable is to hold yourself responsible for outcomes. How do you develop accountability? Learn to be unsatisfied with the status quo, leave your ego at the door, go through the process of introspection and come up with solutions or ways to improve.
Act with a sense of urgency
To have a sense of urgency is to act promptly and with intention to make things happen efficiently and effectively. Having a sense of urgency means doing what needs to be done immediately, without being asked and in the most thorough way possible in order to create change.
Bottom line: Being impactful isn’t easy, but it isn’t hard either. Unless you work at a company where they want you to just come in and do the job, you won’t be limited by opportunities at a company where they want you to bring the best you have to offer. Follow the above principles and you’ll make an immediate impact!