10 Ways To Be Better In A Supporter Role
By: Nicole Cochran
Historically, supporting roles solely answered phones, did payroll, and performed other administrative duties. Today, staff members in supporting roles often play a key role in decision making. They’re not sitting idly by; they are trusted for their thoughts and opinions, and even take on management and project responsibilities.
Supporters are usually steady, reliable, and detail-oriented. According to the Insights Assessment (a tool we use here at Vanderbloemen), supporters often provide "practical support quietly, painstakingly and conscientiously, usually behind the scenes." In short, supporters are critical to a well-balanced team.
If you are in a supporting role, you likely thrive through organization and system implementation. What are other ways that you can be better at your job? Here are ten ways to be better in a supporter role:
1. Stretch Outside of Your Comfort Zone
You may not naturally be inclined to take ownership over projects, or maybe you are uncomfortable getting up in front of people. In your role, you likely will be asked to do some things that you initially may want to avoid; don’t do it. Try to push yourself outside of your comfort zone.
Embrace a growth mindset and devote yourself to developing your gifts and talents.
You might be surprised at how much you learn and grow simply by opening yourself to new challenges.
2. Be Proactive
A defining trait that can separate good from great administrators is the ability to anticipate needs before they’re realized or expressed by others. Learn to read people and situations, and if you think of something that needs to be done, do it before you’re asked. People will notice, and you’ll earn lasting trust among your coworkers.
3. Stay Organized
Create and maintain systems that will allow you to do your work quickly and efficiently. Research new technology or apps like Wunderlist, Asana, or Google Docs that can help organize your workflow and increase your productivity. Many platforms exist to help solve problems or streamline tasks so you can stay organized. Identify your pain points and seek out solutions so you can stay on top on your tasks and use your time efficiently.
4. Pay Attention to Detail
Some people are more detail-oriented than others. However, just because it may take more effort doesn’t mean you can’t do it. Detail doesn’t just mean catching missed commas (though that can be helpful), but making sure everything you do is done with excellence. Simply put, attention to detail means not only focusing on the big picture but also caring about the how-to-get-there steps. Focusing on the finer details can have a major impact on a larger scale.
5. Embrace Learning Opportunities
The more you know, the better. With increased knowledge comes increased value you can provide to your team. Think of tidbits of information as items to collect. Successful administrative staff members embrace learning opportunities and look for solutions to problems. The best supporters take a stab at any project or task thrown their way. Use those collected tidbits of knowledge to problem solve and power through projects.
6. Acknowledge Different Communication Styles
Here at Vanderbloemen, we use Insights, a personality assessment tool, to help us determine communication preferences for different team members. Ultimately, it makes us more efficient at our jobs by creating an environment of mutual trust and respect. Learn how your boss and colleagues prefer to receive information and adjust your communication style to meet their needs.
7. Prioritize Your Time
Effective prioritization can make or break your day. Define what tasks are the most important, set a deadline for yourself, and stick to it. Of course, other unanticipated tasks likely will come up, but you can keep yourself on track by knowing which important projects you need to address first. I’ve learned that the better the organizational system (email inboxes, folders, document naming systems), the easier it is to quickly complete tasks.
8. Run, Don’t Walk
If your mother asked you to do the dishes, would you wait around for her to ask again or would you jump up and do it? Apply the same attitude to your work and impress your boss and coworkers with your speed and diligence. Your work ethic also will foster trust that will lead to new opportunities to take on other assignments.
9. Implement Efficiency
Automate tasks, find cost-saving and time-saving measures, create systems to maximize your time. All of these will save you and your colleagues minutes, hours, and days over a short period. That’s time you could spend doing so many more things!
10. Become An Expert
However simple or complex your tools are, learn them backwards and forwards. Know the ins and outs of your CRM, word processing system, and computer system. In a supporter role, people will often come to you to help them fix or figure something out. The more you know, the better you can help.
Supporting roles are often the backbone of churches and organizations. If you serve in one of these roles, take time to assess yourself and areas in which you could grow. In what areas do you want to improve?