Last week, as I sent out personal thank you messages to each of my team members for their hard work this year, I started thinking about exactly what I was thankful for. Realistically, not every team member is a top performer. But that doesn’t mean they don’t serve a necessary purpose and make a positive impact on the team. Each person contributes something unique that should be acknowledged and appreciated.
These are the key team members I’m thankful for this year:
- Steady Eddie—Eddie may never exceed his goal or go the extra mile for each project, but he is consistent and reliable. He’ll never be your problem, but he also won’t be your star. He comes in every day, doesn’t need a ton of hand-holding, and gets the job done.
- Jack of All Trades Jade—Jade is the project manager who also happens to know how to code, builds websites in her spare time, happens to know how to customize Salesforce, and always fixes that weird paper jam that stumps everyone else. She’s the Short Stop on your company softball team and unbeatable at Trivia Night. Oh, and she bakes gourmet cakes in her spare time. She’s almost more valuable for the contributions she makes beyond her core job than anything else. When you hit a road block, you know if you ask Jade, she’ll probably figure out a solution for you.
- Brainstormin’ Norman—Norman is always open to trying something new. When the rest of the time has a death grip on all of their processes and tools, Norman is always game for testing a new idea to see if it will have a positive impact. He gets the value of trial and error and contributes to all brainstorming meetings with both ideas and a positive attitude. Norman brings a forward-thinking energy to your team.
- Auto-Pilot Violet—Much like Steady Eddie, Violet doesn’t require much of your time. Violet manages herself. She is internally motivated and exhausts all avenues for solving problems before coming to you. If you’re on vacation for a week, you can have confidence that she’ll keep working as hard as she does every day and you won’t return to an inbox of issues she needs you to resolve.
- Helping Hand Dan—Dan has never uttered the phrase “that’s not my job.” He pitches in when asked and often takes initiative to solve problems for others when he identifies them. He is always happy to share information and collaborate even when it sets him back on his own projects. He is the epitome of a team player.
- No Drama Alma—Alma is perhaps the most underrated team member. You don’t realize how much you appreciate someone like No Drama Alma until you are also faced with Drama Queen Jean. Jean zaps the fun out of every event. She is always embroiled in conflict with her coworkers and never misses an opportunity to gossip with anyone who will listen. She is vocal about feeling undervalued and unappreciated. Jean is territorial and never lets anything go. After hours of resolving Jean’s petty issues, you come to appreciate No Drama Alma’s contribution to the team. If Alma experiences conflict, she resolves it long before you hear about it. Alma values her professional reputation and will not distract anyone with personal conflicts.
If you haven’t done so lately, reach out to each of these team members and let them know how much you appreciate their contributions to the team culture and your energy level. Heroes wear all kinds of capes, not just the Top Performer one.