Invisibility as a super power might seem fun for a while. But it would certainly grow tiresome if it was permanent. Many people feel that this is exactly what is happening to them. A cloak of invisibility that you didn’t ask for being draped over your shoulders every time you enter the building. Your ideas are dismissed, no one notices when you don’t speak up and the chances of getting a promotion seem further away than ever.
Ultimately feeling valued at work and getting the promotion you feel you deserve can come down to how visible you are.
If you are good at your job and also too good to ignore – its only a matter of time before you go to the next level. But how do we increase our visibility in the workplace?
Get to know your colleagues
You work with some amazing people. Funny, intelligent, warm, encouraging and some who you might actually consider friends if you got to know them better. Make the effort, it’s for your own good after all. And make sure you go outside of the people you’re naturally in contact with regularly. Connect with people outside your department. Connect with people more senior to you. Make the effort to have a chat, small talk can be challenging for some so this here are some great pointers if it isn’t your forte. Be curious about people, their lives, and their work. Communicate with a giving mentality…how might I be able to help this person? Whether it’s restaurant tips for their next holiday, or support on a project, it all begins with building a relationship.
Support your co-workers
Its nice to be nice. It really is that simple. It will make you feel good and valued and it will make the recipient of your support grateful and better performing in the long run. Getting a reputation as someone who is willing to lend a hand, ear or give helpful advice can be a game changer. If you work with someone who isn’t getting recognition, then make sure you speak up for them and praise them. Being positive and supportive makes you memorable for all the right reasons. Make no mistake the “nice guys never win” belief isn’t true. Givers are the most and least successful people in life, so it’s not about being a doormat, but giving in a supportive way. When it comes to a split decision between two equally qualified people your helpful nature really could set you apart.
Sometimes it seems easier to say nothing at all. If this is happening all the time you can become invisible really quickly and as a result you will feel undervalued. Not everyone is confident enough to speak their mind and even if you are there is one very obvious thing you can do to maximise your impact. If you are attending a meeting look at the agenda beforehand thoroughly and have a long think about what you want to contribute, and how you will do it. Attending a meeting unprepared is one easy way to ensure you sit down and say nothing. Being involved is the key to minimising you anonymity. You have just as much to offer as the most confident person in the room so don’t sell yourself short by not preparing to speak up.
Another way to speak up is to talk about the things you’ve done and achieved.
Don’t wait for it to be noticed, because in our fast-paced world, quite often everyone’s too busy to notice. Be prepared for team meetings with an update on your successes, as well as bringing the usual challenges and next steps. Go to your 1 to 1 with your evidence of what you’ve been doing well and share it. You’re in the elevator with the boss and you’ve just fixed a major issue, bring it up! “You know how we were having that problem, well what I did was…, so now the customer is really happy / the project is on track to deliver…” If nobody knows what you do and more importantly what you bring, then you’ll never get the recognition you deserve.
Embrace new challenges
Saying yes to new challenges and projects that match with your beliefs and values can really help raise your profile. As long as you don’t take on more work than you can handle you will become more visible to more people. Getting an opportunity to work with people in other departments and broaden your skills really is a win-win. Being known as the employee that gets involved outside their comfort zone will place you top of mind throughout the organisation. Businesses can’t get enough of multi-taskers and you will also feel the snowball effect of increased confidence that can only be of benefit. Don’t just wait to be asked. If you’ve been out getting to know others and learn what’s going on, identify where you can add value in line with your personal brand. Speak up and get involved.
Keep up with Industry Trends
Knowledge is power in any industry. So you need to keep up to date with all the latest in your chosen sector. There are a number of ways to do this. Keep an eye on social media (LinkedIn in particular) and subscribe to trade magazines/websites. Don’t forget engage with your customers and network as much as possible. Being the “office oracle” is a great way to make it impossible for anyone to ignore you. But this isn’t a one time deal. You need to regularly keep refreshing our knowledge as there isn’t an industry on the planet that stands still. Make a habit of updating your knowledge on a regular basis ; you never know when a nugget of information can make you stand out from the crowd.
Being good at your job isn’t enough anymore. But the sooner you realise that having a successful career is about more than doing a good job the better. A colleague may actually not be as competent but if they are known throughout the business they will get ahead will you flounder in silence. By being more outspoken and visible your relationship with your boss will naturally improve too.
And although it may not be them that makes the final decision on whether you get the promotion you want…..it will probably be them fighting your corner and giving positive feedback about your contribution. Think about your visibility in the workplace as the cornerstone of your personal brand. Without making the effort to be visible, your brand won’t exist. And that means you will take much longer to get to the next level, if at all.
If you would like to find out more about how Generation Women can help you improve your visibility in the workplace…maybe the Rise and Shine Career Design Programme is for you? Find out more here.