This month we’ve been tackling an overly common and self-inflicted dysfunction: “I’m not getting noticed at work.” We work hard, keep our heads down and one day realize we seem to be the only one that understands, recognizes and appreciates all of our hard work. Not good. If this is you, here is your prescription:
SELF – DIAGNOSIS
As with any dysfunction or affliction, the first step is figuring out if you’ve got “it” and how much having “it” might be costing you. Here’s a simple diagnostic checklist. Notice how often you answer “yes” or “no”:
• Does your boss say “thank you” and “good job”?
• Are you getting regular promotions / salary increases?
• Do people know you by name when you walk around?
• Are you getting “high profile” fires to put out?
• Do members of the senior leadership team make it a point to greet you and thank you for your contributions?
• Are you being talked about in high profile meetings as a solution to the organization’s problems?
If you can answer all of the above with a “yes,” you are rock star with fans across the organization. However, if you found yourself answering many of the above with “no,” you may have a problem. Consider the following steps as you move to get yourself onto the corporate radar.
DETERMINING YOUR TREATMENT PLAN
There are several good “treatment plan” options available to you depending on the severity of your anonymity at work. Consider these three most common factors and the treatment plans for each:
Contributing Factor – “I don’t talk enough (or I talk too much)”
Treatment Plan – Whether you talk too much or not enough, the course of action is essentially the same. Just be sure to do the following (for more, click here):
• Ask good questions – Leaders are not looking for someone who can say something brilliant or insightful. They are looking for individuals that ask the right questions to help get to the right answers. Be one of those individuals. Ask good questions and you’ll be noticed quickly.
• Provide positive feedback to others – Sometimes the best way to get noticed is to tell another person that what he or she did was appreciated, effective and/or valued. A simple “thank you” or a more pointed piece of complimentary feedback can go a long way.
• Keep it short – Concise and succinct communication can present you as more purposeful and intentional about what you say – always good traits to have.
Contributing Factor – “I’m known for the wrong thing”
Treatment Plan – Being known for the wrong thing can be a killer to your ability to be noticed in the way you would like. Here are some quick and easy things you can do to cure this challenge (for more, click here):
• Don’t make yourself invaluable in your current role – Getting recognized for good things is a wonderful thing… unless that “brand” limits you from where you want to go. Work hard to get the brand you want and train others to take your place.
• Overcoming a negative image or changing your existing “brand” requires hand to hand combat – if you want to overcome a bad image, you’ll need to do it one person at a time. Get ready for lots of coffees, breakfasts, lunches, etc… You may never be able to eat alone again for some time.
Contributing Factor – “I’m waiting to be noticed”
Treatment Plan – Hands down, the most common reason I hear for not being noticed at work is that the person is quietly “waiting” to be noticed. If that’s not bad enough, here’s the worst part – these individuals have turned the process of waiting into a noble and righteous stance. Consider these simple steps to treat this issue (for more, click here):
• Promote… just don’t self promote – Don’t look at this process as promoting yourself. That’s an easy way to turn you off (and who can blame you!). Look at this as promoting others. Those individuals that are the very best at getting noticed do two things when it comes to promotion: They promote the business (sell ideas to make the business better) and they try to promote their boss (they work to make their boss look good). Promote others and you’ll be noticed quickly.
• Don’t eat alone – If this is you, time to start networking during your lunch hours. Get out there ask questions, get curious and let others get to know you and what you do.
There you have it. Some simple ways to get noticed for the contributions you are making and the impact you are having at work. A few closing points to not forget as you move forward with increasing your exposure at work:
1. Every interaction with a senior leader is an audition, an opportunity to get noticed and recognized for what you do.
2. Listen to what others say when they introduce you to colleagues / leadership. What first comes to their mind (and out of their mouth) when they introduce you is your “brand.” You have to decide if that is the brand you want.
3. Waiting is the worst strategy – don’t kid yourself into thinking it is a noble position to take. All you’ll get is frustration.
Ferris Bueller is the king of getting noticed. This clip from the movie “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” sums it up nicely (my apologies for the language). Get that kind of recognition across your organization and there isn’t anything you can’t do!