Some talents are easier to spot than others. In fact, some of the most valuable people may not score the most goals or win the elections or come up with the brilliant idea. But their talents actually make everyone else better, happier and more effective.
Here are five people you want to work with.
1. People who make things happen.
It's the person who says, "I'll do it." She takes a stalled project and gets it going again. She offers up an idea and then backs it up by doing the work. And she's not afraid to skip asking for permission if it has to happen right now. When I worked at The Princeton Review, our entire office building burned to the ground overnight. We had several hundred students starting classes the next day. One of our teachers saw the fire on the news that morning, called his friend who worked at a local hotel, booked conference rooms for us to hold our classes, and THEN called the boss to tell him about the fire. That's getting things done.
2. People who are quick to offer praise.
Praise is a great motivator, especially when it's sincere. And the people who do this well are really good at paying attention. They'll notice when the usual second-stringer had a good game and say, "Hey, nice game today." They'll thank the person who went out to get lunch for everyone during the fundraiser and tell them how much it helped. When a project goes well, they make sure to tell the person who came up with it what a great idea it was.
3. People who can laugh at themselves.
I've learned this lesson from other people but admittedly wish I were much better at it. People who will make fun of themselves are great to have on your team. They keep things fun and lighthearted but never at the expense of anyone else. Of course, it's only a valuable skill if they actually do good work, too. But comic relief is important, and these folks tend to help others enjoy their work.
4. People who genuinely like what they're doing.
You can't fake enthusiasm. And when someone seems genuinely happy to be at basketball practice or planning the junior prom or working behind the counter at his part-time job, he lifts everyone else up around him without actually trying to.
5. People who bring emotional energy to what they do.
"Emotional energy" sounds hokey but I can't think of a better way to describe it. This is the person who knows every customer's name at the ice cream shop. It's the ad manager who writes letters to all the businesses after they run ads to thank them. If they staff the front desk at the homecoming dance, they greet arrivals and tell everyone how great they look. No job is unimportant to them. They never phone it in. They see every job, no matter how big or small, as a chance to perform.
Those are the people you want to work with. Which one are you?