5. June 2020

5 employees no boss can do without

By Riccardo Giacometti

In every company, there are these people: the individuals without whom nothing would work. They are the engine of the organization. They are characterized by the fact that they perform a task that is essential — and may not even be recognized as an important to-do. It is completely irrelevant which position they hold in the team, whether line staff, supervisor or department head.

The leadership should pay special attention to these team members, as they can help to achieve goals, strengthen the team, and positively influence performance. Well, there are companies that classify employees according to their performance status, for example, the newcomer who needs support, the rebel who questions everything, the resigned person who has already given up, and the performer — yes, because we all want only performers. For me, it is the talents and abilities that are important. You become a performer when you have the opportunity to develop and contribute. It is the job of the leader to put together the staff in a meaningful and skillful way (the mix makes it) to benefit from the talents and their knowledge/skills.

1. The organizational talent

This employee has an incredible memory and keeps a close eye on everything: colleagues’ and clients’ birthdays, deadlines, and big events. In a team meeting, this employee points out the next big thing and even takes the initiative to organize a small party for their colleague’s birthday. This person is often the good soul of the team.

Why is this employee so important?

The boss gets to feel that everything is under control. This employee is better and more reliable than any calendar. When planning customer meetings, business lunches, and other events, the organizational talent is always consulted, as this person has a good overview of time, broad and rich knowledge, and experience concerning customers. Colleagues also like to come to them for advice, for example: “Can you perhaps recommend an event I should visit?”

Do you find it easy to remember appointments? Is it one of your strengths to hold the reins in your hand? Then you are destined for this job. While popping important dates in your calendar, let others take part. Once you have proven two or three times that you have important things on your screen, your boss will start to rely on you more and more. If you handle this trust responsibly, your boss will soon no longer want to miss you.

2. The mediator

This staff has engaging mannerisms, gets on well with their co-workers, and also has a good connection to the boss. This person always receives many invitations to lunch and often holds a chat with the boss in the corridor or the cafeteria. The mediator is always up to date and knows about plans and changes early on.

Why is this employee so important?

This position is not always easy. Because the boss uses them to pass on unpleasant decisions to the employees. Thus, the mediator is between the chairs. But if this employee does their job well, they won’t take sides and will prevent conflicts from escalating. This employee is respected by both sides and can, thus, make themself heard. The mediator is often consulted by the boss, who sees them as the representative of the entire team.

In order to become a mediator, personal relationships play a major role. Mediators are always good networkers as well. Small talk is easy for them and, in no time at all, they can establish a connection with the other party. They are good at putting themselves in other people’s shoes.

3. The pragmatic

If the situation becomes difficult, the pragmatist is on hand. A customer has unusual wishes and wants to have them fulfilled in the shortest possible time? While the other employees are giving up, the pragmatist is at their best. They can easily make sure that tasks and resources are distributed and that no time is wasted on endless discussions.

Why is this employee so important?

Pragmatists are so indispensable because they are saviors and problem solvers. They do not allow themselves to be thrown off course by unexpected changes and see problems as a challenge they can overcome. Thus, pragmatists are seen as motivators and encouragers by their colleagues.

Do you have your own way of doing things? Then you are the right person for this job. Release yourself from the team’s state of shock and become active. Make suggestions for solutions. Go through each step and review what you have to do next. In such surprising situations, colleagues are often thankful for someone to get the ball rolling.

4. The creative

The creative has an unconventional way. This staff wants to try out new things, break new grounds, and make crazy suggestions. In brainstorming, for example, they will suggest placing the brunch under a certain motto or offer crazy ideas to sell products. Sometimes, their colleagues smile at them for this. But mostly, the creative doesn’t care and never runs out of ideas.

Why is this employee so important?

The creative person brings a breath of fresh air. This staff also dares to break the usual thought patterns, is curious, and full of ideas. When at their best, this employee makes connections between things that nobody else in the room thinks of. The boss appreciates them for providing a lot of input and suggesting new things.

Dare to present your ideas. Do not be intimidated by critical voices. Fresh ideas and unconventional suggestions ensure innovation. After all, following the same path can quickly become boring.

5. The role model

The role model stands fully committed to their job. This person lives by the company values and carries them to the outside world. This staff knows the procedures and processes, is respected by everyone, and often becomes a mentor to newcomers, i.e., those who are just starting their careers. For these trainees, the role model is an anchor point who offers invaluable advice.

Why is this employee so important?

The role model is a person the boss trusts. He/she is often the boss’s extended arm. The boss knows that and is thankful for this employee’s contributions, helping the business run smoothly even when the boss is away.

You don’t become a role model right away. It takes a lot of time and experience. But it is important that you value your reputation and always remember that you stand for your work. Being a role model starts with your interaction with your colleagues. If you want to be a role model, you should find the right tone even on bad days, for example, talking to a trainee in a firm but constructive way about a failed task.