If you’re anything like me, you’re dedicated, motivated and you want to be the best you can possibly be; these are all great attributes to have, and these are all characteristics that are necessary for becoming the “go-to” person in your organization whether it be the public sector or private sector or both.
The “go-to” person, in essence, is the person that everyone comes to for assistance or input. If you’re the go-to person at work, coworkers will recognize your experience and abilities and come to you with questions and seek your advice on a particular topic. This is what some of us strive to be. But even with all of that determination and motivation, some of us still aren’t the go-to person. Hopefully, this list of tips and tricks will assist you in achieving that goal.
Remember that the go-to person was not always the go-to person. I remember a famous Admiral telling a group of us Naval Officers that when crisis strikes people do not generally rise to the occasion. Instead they fall back on the fundamentals. Mastery of the fundamentals is what makes good people great. This is why in business, the military, in law and education we drill our new recruits on the fundamentals. Here are fundamental skills you can master to become the go-to person:
If you’re going to become the go-to person, you must be the expert. The only way to become an expert is to prepare yourself and practice. If you want to be the go-to person at the office for client communication, then you’ll have to spend time communicating with clients; if you want to become the go-to person as a Naval Officer, then you’ll have to spend several hours mastering ship handling, radars, oceanography, maritime law, navigation, mechanical and electrical systems, engineering and control systems, weapons systems. Focus on the intricacies and nuances. You will fail. And, you are supposed to fail. But what makes the difference between a person and the go-to person, is the willingness to learn from failure to prepare yourself for the next time. Successful people have failed more times than unsuccessful people. When it comes down to it, and people are counting on you for advice, you need to be as prepared as possible.
Be An Example
If you want to become the go-to person, you’ll need to put yourself out there and set an example. You will need to be the one to raise your hand first or try something out. You’ll be the one taking responsibility while the others simply shrug it off. You will have to put in the extra time and work, but that’s what makes the difference. That extra time and that extra work will make you the go-to person.
Setting a good example means being exemplary. Strive for this in your communications, in your mannerisms, and your finished work products. If you lead people whether they are military servicemembers or employees, they will be inspired by your examples.
Being an effective communicator is another important component of becoming a go-to person. It isn’t enough to be the model that sets the example, you need to be able to communicate your successes, failures and advice. You also need to build up relationships with your peers. You may have the expertise and know-how, but if you can’t communicate effectively or if you have a terrible attitude, no one will want to seek your guidance. Maintain a positive attitude, always be open and receptive and listen to others.
Listening is just as important as speaking; it’s a crucial element of communication. Attorneys for example must be expert communicators. In litigation witnesses testify at trials. The opposing attorney “cross-examines” the statements given by the witness. When I cross-examine a witness on the stand, I am highly analytical in my approach and I am listening not only to a witness’s words, but also the non-verbal attributes such as his posture, his eye movement, his tone, and his speech prosody. Try doing this and you will really understand the message a person is sending.
I want to be clear, becoming the go-to person in your organization will take time. It will not happen overnight, and if you think it can, you will never become that person. Take your time, learn as much as you can, put in the work and build relationships with those around you. This is what it takes to become the go-to person.