How Do I Get Noticed?
October 20, 2015
There are many people who do good work, sometimes even great work, and yet managers overlook them. Their talents go unrecognized. Their results go barely acknowledged. Their contribution goes unrewarded. The promotion they dream of isn't on the horizon. These people don't do anything wrong, in fact they often do everything that is asked of them, but somehow they fly under the radar.
Why is that? What are these people doing or not doing that is holding them back? What is stopping them from being noticed?
I get to spend time with lots of different people and I hear this narrative often. "I am working hard. My results are good. But, management keeps overlooking me. I want to develop. I want to feel appreciated." It is easy to jump on the bandwagon and start blaming managers and organizations for their poor people operations. How could they pass up someone who is doing everything that is asked of them? But often it is not the organization's fault.
I am a believer in the individual taking responsibility. You have the power to chart your own course. You have the opportunity to choose not only what you do and how you do it. You can't control what the organization or your manager does, but you can take back your own control. You can decide what you do about your situation.
The question people should be asking themselves is "What am I doing to change my situation?" The world isn't simple. Doing everything that is asked of you won't mean you're noticed. Delivering good results consistently won't put you at the top of the pile. Getting noticed requires something else.
What else does it take to get promoted? Likeability.
Research shows us that our perception of an employee's competence changes based on how much we like or dislike the person. Wow! That's a scary truth but one that you need to acknowledge if you want to succeed.
Being likeable is directly linked to your potential for career success. This isn't just about your manager liking you. It is about your colleagues liking you. It's about the whole organization liking you. You want - and need - everyone in the business to recognize your results and to like you.
Lucky for us, we can change the way people perceive us if we're willing to take responsibility:
Build relationships. Make building relationships and rapport your number one priority. Connection is the most powerful thing we can offer one another. Finding ways to connect with others is essential for your career development. People who achieve the big results have a network they can call on for help and support when it's needed. They get the job done because they have cultivated a network of people who they can rely on. Take the time to be kind and get to know everyone you work with. It always pays off in the long run.
Be a team player. It's all too easy to build relationships and then destroy all your hard work by being a lone wolf. Support your colleagues in achieving their goals. Help them to succeed. Help them to look better in front of others. Share the recognition and the results. Encourage the input and ideas of others. Be collaborative. Know when to be a leader and when to be a follower. You must live up to the mantra; "We're in this together".
Avoid negativity. Negative emotions are addictive. Negativity is like a drug to humans. Once you take a hit, you'll find yourself coming back for more and more. Negativity is the best way to alienate yourself; it could even get you fired. Negative people aren't noticed for the right reasons. Never openly criticize or gossip about the organization, the management or your colleagues. Distance yourself from anyone who indulges in a fix of negativity. Once you're tarnished with the perception of being negative it's extremely hard to move on from.
Get involved. Participation is an important part of being noticed. People like and gravitate towards people who have substance. Those who have the courage to speak up, share their opinions and contribute. We're drawn to interesting people with differing perspectives. Your input could lead to a breakthrough that helps move you forward or it could just demonstrate your engagement in the task. Both are equally valuable to you.
Do more than your job description. The people who excel -- and are liked by the organization -- are those who go beyond their core duties. They are willing to take on a task that no one else wants. They look for opportunities to innovate the business; they are always looking to make meaningful improvements. They find ways to help drive more value to the bottom line; they know that no matter what their job title is, it is their goal to help make the company more profitable. People who get noticed never say "It's not my job!"
Be authentic. Think about those in your workplace who stand out to you. They have a distinct personality. You can describe them in vivid detail. They bring a sense of personal energy to their work, an energy that is contagious. People want to be around those who are genuine. Be yourself. Don't be concerned about adapting your style and approach to fit in with the norm. Difference gets noticed. You are already different from everyone else -- embrace it!
Results alone won't get you noticed. It's simply not enough in today's business environment. That's not saying results aren't important. If you're not achieving what is required of you then you can't expect to be rewarded or promoted. You need results and to be liked. Not just liked because you are who you are, but liked because of who you are and what you contribute. Your character, your contribution and how others perceive you are essential to moving forward.
I wonder if the phrase we've all heard muttered by managers "I don't need to be liked, just respected" is as true in the workplace today as it used to be. I suspect it's not.