Back to basics: Individual contribution

Back to basics: Individual contribution

I have a lot of discussions about ‘wanting to be a team leader’ or ‘wanting to be a project manager’ or simply wanting a pay rise.

In nearly all cases the conversation comes round to that person’s contribution in their current role – How have they performed? What have they done that increases their chances?

So what are the 5 key things that make a person vital to a team and organisation?


  1. Taking ownership

Actually, I would make this 1,2,3,4,5. Somebody whom you know that takes ownership of a situation or an action is invaluable. It doesn’t mean that they need to sort it out themselves or not ask for help, quite the reverse. Taking ownership is simply ensuring that a situation is managed, calling in the right people and ensuring the task is complete. Being a safe pair of hands for your management and colleagues is the factor most likely to get you promoted/ rewarded

Taking responsibility when things go wrong is also vital. Having slopey shoulders will get you nowhere fast. We all make mistakes and not owning up to them or your part in them is really something that we should grow out of around the age of 8.


  1. Communication

Simple and easy? Not really. There is a fine line between not communicating enough – letting the right people know relevant information, and over communicating. I’m certainly guilty of the latter, although I do try to keep things straight to the point. Does everyone that needs to know about what you are doing know it? Are your mails informative? Did you write/ speak in a constructive manner? – It’s very easy to cause problems by being negative or critical. Moreover nobody wants to work with someone that moans all the time J


  1. Be a good team member

You want to be the person that everybody wants on their project- a little like the school sports team, only a grown-up version. Taking ownership plays a bit part in this, the person who can be relied on to do what they say is welcome in any team, ditto the person who takes responsibility for their mistakes.


  1. Know your own job/ subject

Stating the obvious perhaps. In order to contribute, you need to do something, to know something, to be able to help people in a certain area, to perform specific tasks.

Experience takes time, but knowledge can be picked up faster along the way. There isn’t a person on this planet that has nothing to learn. Read blogs, white papers, and company reports. Ask colleagues what they think/ know about subjects, absorb as much information as possible.


  1. Be a pleasure not a pain

OK, not everybody has the sense of humour of Peter Kay but anyone can smile, be cheerful and friendly, be a pleasure to work with and not a pain.

Everybody has difficult times, but the person who responds to ‘how are you?’ with a negative answer consistently or moans at the first opportunity is not usually considered fun to work with.

Take time to try and get to know your colleagues – nobody should be above taking an interest in his or her colleagues, team members or management.


Does this list look simple? That’s because, in my experience, it is, just sometimes we all need to go back to basics and be reminded of how to be the best we can…

  • Posted by Lanshore
  • On July 19, 2016

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