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Be the person everyone wants on their team

By September 29, 2023Performance

In October we’ll be heading to The Netherlands to speak at the International Fundraising Congress.  One of our workshops is on how to become Fundraising’s most wanted – or any team’s most wanted for that matter.

In a world driven by people power, some people stand out. You know that person who walks into the room (virtual or real) and you just think, “You. We want you”? You don’t even know their skills or experience, but they have a vibe that puts them in demand. What’s their secret? Actually, they have three: a high-performance mindset, an approach the unites rather than divides, and more than just a bit of backbone.

There are a number of ways in which you can develop a high-performance mindset.  One way is to consider how you add value to your team and always have this in mind when you contribute. Are you a strong listener, do you ask searing questions that get people thinking, are you full of ideas and won’t give up until you find one that fits the bill?  Maybe you’re an ace problem solver who sees obstacles purely as things to overcome.  Team members with a high-performance approach, value all these attributes and more.  They work out what comes naturally, make best use of it and then apply themselves to develop a level of competency around the rest.  They come to the team with offerings not just requests.  It’s a bit of a cliché to talk about a “can do” attitude but if you can find ways to say yes more than you say no (within reason!) you’ll always be in more demand.

An approach that unites is all about valuing difference.  Do you seek out people who are similar to you? It’s natural and human to want to do that, it makes life easy, gives us a good “shorthand” with our colleagues and feels comfortable.  But you’re in grave danger of falling into group think.  Difference makes us think, sometimes it makes us uncomfortable, but in the end, you are more likely to innovate which propels you to the dizzy heights of an in-demand contributor.  Team members who look to welcome different approaches, experiences and backgrounds to the team, not only create a fertile ground for ideas, but they are also more likely to move seamlessly between teams, creating strong relationships as they go.

How’s your resilience at the moment – feeling sturdy or wobbly?  Understandable if it’s the latter, given all the challenges the world keeps throwing at us.  When it comes to strengthening your backbone, you could do worse than read up on the work of Carol Dweck and Growth Mindset.  The idea that you make your own luck and that talent and skill are far more about hard work and effort than they are lucky genes, just about sums up the Growth Mindset.  She talks a lot about “not yet” – the idea that you haven’t achieved something yet, won yet, smashed it yet – being a healthier approach than writing yourself off at the first sign of failure.  Coaching yourself to think “not yet, but getting there” is a great way to stoke up your resilience.  It’s a hopeful and positive approach that acknowledges the value of putting the effort in and that good things come to those who work hard.  Teams like that.

We hope to bump into you in the Land of the Tulip next month as we have lots more to say, but in case you don’t make it there, we’ll save you a Stroopwafel and record some of our sessions for you to listen to for more ways to become everyone’s most wanted.