Gone are those days when meeting the requirements/expectations was enough. Today’s business environment being complex, competitive and ever evolving, requires an employee to constantly grow and adapt to ensure the business stays on.
It is true that all employees ‘work’. No matter how you work, at the end of the day, you are either working to make yourself indispensable or working to make yourself obsolete. Being adaptable, dynamic, learning and growing with your organization as it changes and evolves; aligning your long term purpose with that of the organization makes you indispensable.
No shortcuts/cheat-codes. Have you known many highly-successful people to be lazy? In order to be truly irreplaceable, you have to work well, work smart. You can't take shortcuts and still expect tremendous respect and rewards. For those who have taken this in literal sense: this doesn’t imply that you should not use even the keyboard shortcuts J
Be adaptable, not rigid. In an age where technology, workplace environment and strategy techniques are constantly changing, the most pernicious thing you can do for your career is to cling on to something from the past and refuse to change.
The good news about rigidity is that it gives you a sense of control — it is predictable. You understand it, know it, can explain it, and can even teach it to others. The bad news is that the sense of control is often a false one or temporary at best.
You can always tell when someone isn't adaptable to change. They demonstrate their paralysis through resistance, advocating for the old way, talking about the good old days, or undermining current change efforts through their lack of cooperation and cynicism.
Being a perfectionist will be your downfall. Most people think that being a perfectionist is what they need for success, however, in reality, it prevents it.
Perfectionism fosters inaction — waiting until we can guarantee success before we take action. This negates accountability and prevents excellence. We wait for the perfect plan, the perfect decision, and the perfect action that won't fail.
As the wise have said, Strive for excellence and success will follow.
Be of service to others without expecting anything in return. Most of us only do things for other people if we get something in return, but a truly respectable/favorite employee is someone who makes decisions and solves problems for the good of their team and other departments in the organization.
The more you become "we-centered" rather than "me-centered" the more indispensable you become and in turn you become a favorite. Trust grows when our motives are straightforward and based on mutual benefits — in other words, when we genuinely care not only for ourselves, but also for the people we interact with, lead, or serve.
So be proactive to discuss the issues or concerns pertaining to self, team or account with your managers.
Be purpose-driven, not goal-driven. At work, you will have goals to achieve, but I believe these goals are often established without a clear sense of purpose. And since most people are often too busy to go above and beyond their daily tasks, they're not making an effort to produce actual changes and add value. It’s easy to understand that goal setting motivates constructive effort but can induce some unethical behavior too. So ensure your goals have an underlined purpose, either defined by you or your peers.
Be assertive. Life is a game, so play big or go home. Take charge, stand apart and don't be afraid to speak up during meetings for fear of sounding unintelligent or being wrong or having a totally different opinion from your senior colleagues. Remember, your managers/leads are also an employee of the organization, only with a different set of roles and responsibilities. So it is not a grave sin to have a different opinion.
Forgive others quickly. Accountability is measured more by how you handle mistakes, mishaps, and breakdowns rather than getting everything right all the time. It's about how fast you can pick yourself up when you fall; how quickly you correct a mistake that you/your team made; that little or no harm comes to your customer, family member, or friend. It is important to quickly accept mistake to be able to get up quickly.
For a deeper insight you can refer to books like the ones below:
2)MakingYourself Indispensable: The Power of Personal Accountability - Mark Samuel
3)Drive: TheSurprising Truth About What Motivates Us - Daniel H. Pink