How to be the unsung hero of your workplace

Written by: Georgina Bloomfield
Published on: 3 Jun 2016

When I say ‘unsung hero’, I don’t mean someone who gets no credit for the hard work they put in. I mean someone who’s become indispensable at work and the company couldn’t possibly function the same way without them. I don’t mean someone who can constantly ‘fix’ things, or someone who’s the only person to know how to do something vital that the company needs. I mean someone who really helps the company achieve its goals and is an excellent element of the company. Here’s how you can become the unsung hero of your workplace.

Can you make improvements to existing methods?

A lot of unsung heroes see a problem in the company, such as an IT problem for example, and find a way of improving it so that everybody benefits from the changes. Whether it’s a change to the way things are organised digitally throughout the whole company, or if you’ve streamlined a procedure to make things happen a lot quicker and easier. Usually it’s something that can be so easily fixed but nobody has bothered to do it. If you have time, make some room in your calendar to implement these changes. Lots of people will thank you for it in the long run.

Don’t waste meeting time

Unsung heroes of the workplace don’t waste time making meetings that don’t need to happen. If you need a task to be done, will holding a meeting actually prevent it from being completed on time? Meetings can be counterproductive unless there’s a strict agenda or exactly the right people in attendance. If you do need to have a meeting, make sure everyone stays on point by compiling an agenda and sticking to it. if things come up in the meeting that aren’t on the agenda, make a note of it and follow up with the other person afterwards.

Remain loyal to the company

An unsung hero will do a good job because they respect the company they work for and appreciate the values and goals of what the company is trying to achieve. You’ll want to help the company achieve these goals as much as possible. Never lose sight of the company’s overall vision. Do you believe in what the company does? Are you proud for who you work for? Not everyone has pride for their place of work – but unsung heroes of the workplace are heroes because they love the job they do and they respect their place of work.

Communication is hugely important

Nobody likes people who can’t communicate properly. It makes things really frustrating and stops things from being done efficiently. Unsung heroes don’t hide important things from people because they feel insecure about others making progress instead of them. They share the knowledge with the best people on a regular basis to make teamwork that whole lot better for everyone. If you all have the same goals, then why not communicate with others? Keeping things to yourself or burying your head in the sand and just ignoring that email won’t get you anywhere – it can actually create more problems for you later on. Make sure you follow up on emails when you say you’re going to, and keep all the relevant people in the loop at all times.

Take time out for what you need

It’s important that you take a small amount of time out to go over the responsibilities you’re paid to do. It can be easy to become swept up in helping others achieve their projects when you really have more important things to do yourself. Have you taken any training sessions lately, or do you have any other tasks that you need to do but have been putting off? Make sure you take care of these first – you can’t be an unsung hero of your workplace unless you do your actual job!

The term ‘unsung hero’ does make people think of someone who does loads of work but gets no credit for it – or at least nobody realises how important that person is until they’re off work. It’s not about that at all – it’s about being that colleague who people can rely on no matter what the situation. And yes, it’s a good idea to avoid bragging in the workplace about how indispensable you are!