Being good at what you do simply isn’t good enough these days. Intense competition in the workplace means you’ll need to understand how important it is to be visible, as well as gathering a host of tools and skills to ensure that you’re seen by the right people.
This is particularly important if you are ambitious and want to progress into more senior roles: it’s crucial that you are not only great at what you do, but that other people know that about you too. Being your organization’s biggest-kept secret will not help get you that next promotion. However, some of the advice in this article might.
Here are five ways to be seen and heard at work:
1. Be Seen.
Sounds simple, but in the world of emails, instant messaging, Skype calls and teleconferencing, it’s all too easy to become a virtual colleague or team member. I maintain that we still form the biggest bonds with people we actually meet, and that is where rapport is built at its most strongest.
Wherever possible, take opportunities to leave your desk instead of emailing, and go and meet colleagues face- to-face. The goal: get yourself seen around your organization, introduce yourself to others and have something to say.
2. Volunteer for Opportunities Outside Your Immediate Work.
There may be times when you have skills that need to be developed, yet find that there are limited opportunities at work for this to happen. At this point, it’s time to volunteer.
This means that you’ll not only be visible outside your immediate industry, you’ll also be doing good and developing your leadership skills at the same time. Your improved skills back in the workplace will make you more visible. So ponder: where could you volunteer that would not only build your skills, but might help others too?
3. Be Memorable – for the Right Reasons.
We create an impression everywhere we go. Every time we open our mouths or do something, we make some sort of an impact. The question is, is it the right one?
Don’t disclose too much — people don’t need to know everything about you. Being authentic doesn’t mean that you can be held up to the light and people can see through you. So sharing details about your domestic or financial problems at work may not create the impression that you’re looking to make. Decide what you’d like to people to know about you, and also what’s appropriate for them to know.
4. Be a People-Connector.
Networking is, not surprisingly, a tool consistently used by the senior leaders I interviewed. Research has shown that more and more women are understanding the importance of building a network, and learning to nurture it. This BBC article discusses how much business performance can be increased by actively networking, and how women need to change their perspective on what networking is, and importantly, what it isn’t.
One of the keys to this is to view networking as building relationships. A great network is invaluable — but then you need to use it, and use it to the benefit of others. So connecting the people in your network to one another is an effective way to be visible: not only does it put you on the radar of two people, it will also be of help to others, which is something they won’t forget in a hurry.
5. Consider Doing Something You Don’t Love.
Sometimes a way to be more visible is to take the less obvious route. In other words, if the position you aspire to is on a small team but is currently filled by someone who won’t be moving for some time, then consider a different move that will equip you with the skills you’ll need, and help to take a different path to the top.
So you’re better off not waiting for the right opening indefinitely, and possibly missing out on opportunities. Instead, do something that will advance your career, even if it feels initially unappealing, because there will be more learning in something that feels uncomfortable. In fact, finding creative ways to be more visible and following a different path than one you had originally envisioned may lead you to more success than your first plans!
Remember, as noted, being good enough isn’t good enough — you need to be visible. You’ll need to employ strategies like the ones mentioned in this article if you want to make it to the top. Have a look at these pointers and choose just one to get your started, then try to employ several of them to lead you on the path to being visible and valued at work.
(Indebted to various sources)