A few weeks ago I invited readers to reflect on a case study – Am I in a Stage Show? What Do I Need To Be More Visible at Work? I received interesting perspectives – thank you to those who took the time to read and share their views.
On one hand they say you must be yourself and on the other hand they expect you to be a politician at the workplace! This can be confusing for many who face similar situations like Ken at work.
In a role that isn’t customer facing or that gives opportunities to present directly to those that matter, it can be a barrier for employees to be known for the work you do. Instead, who is seen and gets more ‘face-time’ are the ones who get the most chances to progress in their careers and therefore gain more. To top that – if the individual is an introvert, for example, it creates even more challenges for people to note these behind-the-scenes yet effective effort as colleagues at work. This doesn’t have to be the case.
There are ways to still get the spotlight you deserve without taking actions which go against your natural approach at work.
· Change your attitude, not your personality: It isn’t about your personality but how you bring your whole self to work. Often, we get lost in the expectations that some organizations or managers present as choices. For example, “either be an ‘extrovert’ or you won’t stand a chance”. Or, be ‘aggressive’ since that is what the culture is around here. “If you are not pushy, others will mow you down”. You don’t need to change who you are to be the best at work. It is about knowing yourself better and watching actions you take that don’t help you raise your performance. Stay focused and positive and that will be more helpful than trying to be someone else.
· Seek forums and allies to share your work: Like it or not, unless you have built strong relationships at work, it can be cumbersome to get your projects moving at pace. Taking people along is a skill that must be honed to be successful at work. Likewise, getting stakeholders aligned on your priorities and seeking their support are crucial steps to take to make steady progress. It isn’t about ‘managing upwards’ as people often say. It is doing what’s right so that your hard work gets due recognition and you are able to contribute to your fullest.
· Ask for help and collaborate with others: At the workplace asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness. In fact, it only shows your maturity and strength. It demonstrates your intent to partner, take views, participate and learn from others. No one succeeds isolation. So raise your hand if you need help. If the organization has a culture that is open and collaborative you will have many pitching in. Collaborating goes to show your humility and your interest to get better. So don’t hesitate to ask when you need support. It also opens up opportunities to have conversations, learn from others and be of help.
When you receive feedback like ‘you need to be more visible’, probe more. Understand why the feedback is arising. It doesn’t have to be that you change your personality or create a whole set of initiatives to enhance your image among stakeholders. It may just mean that you haven’t met or spent enough time with stakeholders explaining your role, how you add value and involving them in your initiatives. Don’t rush into creating opinions about your worth or of those around you. Acting won’t get you very far since people can see through it over time. Also, it isn’t going to be your usual self.
Pause, reflect and ask if all that you are doing is helping or preventing you from being your best at work. You will get your answers easily.
Agree or disagree? Leave your comments here.
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