How to Be Indispensable at Work, 5 Lessons from World Cup
“I am building a fire, and everyday I train, I add more fuel. At just the right moment, I light the match.” ~Mia Hamm
Special note: I beg the indulgence of non-US readers that the term “soccer” is used here instead of “football.” The majority of my readers are American, and I need a way to distinguish the game from American football. In addition, the pronoun “he” is used here for clarification only and has no bearing on either sex.
I caught World Cup fever and have been spending my lunch hour glued to ESPN. What is known to Americans as “soccer” is “football” to the rest of world, and no devotee would dispute why it is dubbed “the beautiful game.”
Regardless if you are into the game or not, here are my five observations from the World Cup games that can help you become indispensable at work.
Brand yourself as a striker. The primary job of a forward is to score goals and create opportunities for his teammates. The center forward is the team’s leading scorer and possibly the most dangerous player on the field. He’s the striker. At work, bosses view strikers as high performers. Strikers are generally your sales and customer facing team but anyone who makes money, saves money and makes other key contributions to their team can be a striker.
Adopt a midfield mindset. Midfielders are the link between the team’s defense and attack. They have the skills to penetrate deep in enemy territory on attack and make the transition to defense when the opposition has possession of the ball. They are highly versatile. If you are willing to step outside your job scope, you are the midfielder bosses often picked to take on special projects and high visibility initiatives.
Play like a ten. A successful soccer team will have a player with a number 10 jersey. He’s generally a midfielder who creates scoring opportunities and controls the pace of the game. He’s the one to watch because he’s the go-to player. If both bosses and teammates see you as the go-to person, it’s likely you are viewed as a valuable asset, and one that is highly promotable.
Be the last line of defense. If the opposition makes it past the defenders on the team, the goalkeeper is the last line of defense. From his position, the goalkeeper has a vantage point into the game. In work, this individual may be a senior member with a deep understanding of the company culture and politics. He may also have specialized skills that the team relies on as the last line of defense in negotiations or in helping them meet tight deadlines.
Don’t be afraid to be human. Wow, do you see the hairstyles? Not to mention the spontaneous dancing, hugging and crying on and off the field. These seemingly superhuman athletes are not afraid to show they are human. Maintaining professionalism is important but never forget that people trust people whom they can relate to.
Your turn to shine. What tips do you have for this community on being indispensable at work?
- Being Present
- Getting Off the Couch
- Life Lessons from Sports
- Mental Clutter
- Overcoming Challenge
- Overcoming Sadness
- Positive Attitude
- Positive Self-Talk
- Pushing Limits
- Taking Action
- Time Management