Originally appeared March 30, 2011 on AOL Jobs
One of the things that people don’t often think about when they’re contemplating their career life is the type of contributor they want to be in their work. Knowing your peak contribution style gives you great insight into the types of jobs where you can be most successful. Here are some examples of contribution styles for working within a company.
The Individual Contributor
An Individual Contributor is someone without direct inline responsibility. They are evaluated as individuals, rather than by their contribution as part of a team. They don’t have people who report to them, and the people to whom they report usually have given them clear goals, and lots of leeway.
Best jobs for Individual Contributors:
Individual Contributors often have great success in jobs such as sales, business development, research science, and in-house copywriting, as these types of jobs offer independence and are based on quantifiable results and deliverables.
Individual Contributors challenge: It is often thought that career advancement means being “in charge” of a group. For an Individual Contributor who thrives on working independently, this can be a real challenge.
Imagine a brilliant chemist who is nose-deep in beakers and compounds and is very content making breakthrough discoveries. During his annual review, the chemist is rewarded for his contributions with a promotion and a raise. The promotion takes him out of his role as an Individual Contributor and puts him in charge of managing other chemists.
Suddenly, he’s not spending his days with chemicals, but spending time making sure other chemists are doing the right things with their chemicals. Frustrated and bored, he’s no longer doing the work that inspires and motivates him. His waning interest leads to lackluster performance by his team, and the promotion is considered a failure.
Knowing your preferred contribution style provides you with an awareness of job types where you can be most successful. If the description of the Individual Contributor resonates with you, look for jobs that allow you to work independently on specifically defined tasks. When you do this, you will perform at your peak capacity.
To read about some other work styles (Team Player, Manager, Leader), click here to visit the original post.