Of course, being reliable is also about staying focused and working towards a goal. Keep your eyes on the end result, follow through, deliver what you say you will and more people will see you as trustworthy.
Keep your project manager informed about your progressEven with the most collaborative planning tools, you probably have a lead project manager who oversees the delivery of a project (even if her title isn’t “Project Manager”). This person initiates tasks and assigns work to all other team members. In some groups, this person could be your boss or a team leader, and is generally the one who takes the fall if things go south. When you show respect for your project lead’s responsibilities – by meeting deadlines, communicating changes and being reliable – you make an important person’s life easier and raise your value quotient.
Be flexible and willing to changeProjects hardly ever go as planned, so there’s a good chance you’ll find yourself doing “surprise” work in order to move a project forward. It could be helping a team mate with some tasks, taking over part of a ballooning project – you name it. If you can roll with these change requests with a positive attitude and pitch in where needed, this will earn you those key points as “team player.”
Also, if you’re a good problem solver and naturally willing to do whatever (within reason) the team needs of you, it could be that flexibility is one of your greatest strengths. Every team needs a flexible player, so play to it!
Share information and resources with your team
Some people think they increase their career worth if they’re the one with all the information. It depends how you play this. Hoarding resources and then trotting out your smarts at opportune moments will not get you far. (Nobody likes a know-it-all.) Instead, make yourself a necessary part of the team by sharing all your information, knowledge and resources freely. Take a page from people-centric business expert Tim Sanders’ book Love is the Killer App: Be a lovecat – a rich, open source of knowledge.
Respect of other people’s work styles
We all know this one: Everyone is different and we all have our own work styles. Just because a team member approaches a task or challenge at a different angle than you would doesn’t mean it’s wrong. So if you don’t understand what a team mate is doing or saying, ask questions until you find a common ground. Clearing up the differences in your processes will help you work together more fluidly going forward, and who knows – you might even learn a thing or two!
Be positiveYou can’t do everything perfectly, which means you’re going to get constructive feedback every once in a while. This is also how we learn and build our career skills. So when you do get constructive feedback, try to take it with a positive attitude. Keep in mind that not everyone’s great at their feedback delivery so don’t take it personally if it comes out blunt and insensitive. Instead, just focus on the part that you can learn from.
If a boss sets out a plan of action and you can rise to the occasion and meet it – well, how many ways can you say “raise” and “promotion”?
At the end of the day, however, we all know what matters even more than raises and promotions: the feeling of doing meaningful work in a team that fosters your talents and being appreciated and valued for the good work you do. Focus on how you can do your part in the equation and see the world rise up to meet you.
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