Recognizing your go-to people

Recognizing your go-to people

Photo credit: Simon Migaj for


We may not spend much time thinking about it, but every leader has go-to people on their team whom they count on to get things done.

What does a go-to person look like?

  • You know they will move mountains to solve a problem.
  • You concern yourself with removing obstacles for them.
  • You welcome the weekly updates to hear their ideas and progress.
  • They embrace shared values to guide their decisions and actions.
  • They use constructive criticism as fuel to get better.
  • They have the best interests of the team and customer in mind, and you make sure you have their backs.
  • They raise their hands for thankless, risky jobs.
  • They show up for each task, not just the shiny ones.

Some things to think about with go-to people:

  1. Depending on their work style and personality, they may require more or less time, attention, and praise. Figure out what works for them.
  2. They may be loyal and also may leave you if they feel disconnected or under-utilized.
  3. Their work matters to them and is often a big part of their identity. Give them meaningful work that means something to the organization and its customers.
  4. Create personal development opportunities that stretch them beyond their capabilities and expand their comfort zones.

Takeaway: Our go-to people are rarely noisemakers for themselves and they can get lost in the day-to-day clamor. This is a reminder to take a moment to notice who is consistently and quietly stepping up for you and make sure they are getting the care and feeding required to help them continue to contribute, grow, and stay.