Your #1 j ob is to make people want to work with you. If you’re ever faced with a work decision, use that measuring stick first by asking if your response makes someone want to work with you more, less, or the same. Since a large part of my brand is clarity, I’ll break this down into specifics, but please keep in mind that this list isn’t comprehensive and that environments vary widely.
- Deliver. Getting your work done is critical. This is the biggest influencer on whether people want to work with you.
- Smile. Not just in your facial expressions, but in your words and voice. Being pleasant is a close second to getting your work done and close enough that I’ve seen ineffective people retain their position far longer than they should simply because everyone liked them.
- Innovate. While this is a pretty overused term, I’m using it here to specifically mean “do something or create something new which is a pleasant surprise”. It only takes 1 or 2 small innovations a year for people to want to work with you and see what’s next.
- Bleed. You are going to make a mistake – own that mistake and do everything you can to make things right. You should not, of course, intentionally create problems but it’s pretty safe to say that problems will come. If you are the type of person who never blames others nor covers things up then people will notice (consciously or not) and want to work with you.
- Support. Keep an eye out for others having difficulty and jump in to get their head above water. Someone who can keep the team moving in the toughest of times will be sought out and held onto.
- Teach. If you can make others more valuable then you are a force multiplier and people will want to work with you.
- Delight. The occasional left-field surprise goes a long way.
The challenging aspect to all this is that it needs to be genuine – for example pleasant can’t be an act, it needs to be a commitment.