In any business, your employees bring different talents and skills to the table. You likely have employees who do great work and who will effortlessly get their jobs done. But Liz Wiseman, a researcher and executive advisor from Silicon Valley who’s written books on leadership, defines a next level of employee. In her definition, “Impact Players” take their roles to heart and positively affect their entire team. Impact Players, she writes, have mental tenacity, and can successfully deal with challenges and ambiguity. They also inspire those around them and take on meaningful contributions for the team.
Not everybody is driven to be an Impact Player. However, the traits of this type of leader can be learned and cultivated. If you want to be seen as an Impact Player, Wiseman outlined five practices that make these individuals stand out.
“While others do their job, Impact Players do the job that’s needed.”
The great thing about Impact Players is that when they see a job that needs to be done, they are willing to jump in to complete the task. They can see where their capabilities will be most useful and instead of pausing to say, “That’s not my job,” they are willing to be useful and explore outside the boundaries of their defined role.
These high-level players have the capacity to fulfill their role. However, they also are willing to see beyond that role. They typically have a deep understanding of their company’s evolving needs. Start challenging yourself to think creatively and take the initiative to do things you see need to be done. Your efforts will be noticed.
“While others wait for direction, Impact Players step up and lead.”
When there’s a need for leadership, an Impact Player is willing to take on that role. These individuals recognize the need for a great leader, providing support and vision where it may be lacking. Yet Wiseman also says the great thing about Impact Players is they also are willing to step back when needed.
Impact Players don’t settle. They are talented, capable leaders who also recognize the collaborative efforts of their team. Put yourself to the challenge by seizing the opportunity to step up the next time you’re in a situation without a clear leader. Once the work is done, be willing to support the next person who jumps in and is willing to take charge.
“While others escalate problems, Impact Players move things across the finish line.”
To stay efficient, your team needs to be able to cross the finish line successfully. But if there is any ambiguity on how to move forward, that finish line can seem like it’s an eternity away. Impact Players tend to step up to keep projects moving forward, no matter the problems that arise along the way.
An Impact Player is a leader who can help employees stay motivated and overcome the challenges and problems that might arise. While others might shut down when issues occur, this type of employee is known to grow from these challenges and become more resilient in their efforts. To build that skill, work on taking ownership of the work and anticipating any roadblocks that may occur along the way. Then, challenge yourself to learn and grow from the experience.
“While others attempt to minimize change, Impact Players learn and adapt to change.”
Critical feedback is an essential part of growth. Yet many employees are too afraid to adapt and tend to receive feedback in a way that makes them feel like a failure. After all, that’s how the human brain is wired. The great thing about an Impact Player is they have a deeper understanding of the feedback loop. They know they can learn and grow and do so without fear.
If you’re up to the challenge of becoming an Impact Player, push yourself to ask for all feedback you can solicit. Be aware that feedback is not a criticism of you; it’s a chance to take in information that can help take you to the next level. Embrace the information you take in and allow it to help you produce greater results.
“While others add to the load, Impact Players make heavy demands feel lighter.”
There will always be stress in the workplace. Yet with an Impact Player on your team, that stress seems to melt away. That’s because they’re great about jumping in to get the job done and creating a positive workplace. They tend to be modest and humble, which alleviates stress while encouraging those around them.
If you’re ready to step up your contributions, take a positive approach toward reducing stress in the office. Jump in where you see help is needed and work on your emotional intelligence, particularly your motivational skills and empathy. It will go a long way toward improving workplace dynamics.
You may have to embrace a new mindset to become an Impact Player. It could take some work, and that’s okay. Wiseman encourages people to master three of the five practices to become an Impact Player. Mastering most of them can make a massive difference for your entire team. And I believe it’s a challenge worth striving for.
Jim Allen is a business leader and entrepreneur who has built one of the top-producing real estate groups in the Triangle. He is President of The Jim Allen Group, which is consistently named one of the top real estate teams in North Carolina and even North America.