“The greatest danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it. Rather it’s that we aim too low and we reach it.”
~ Michelangelo ~
Client Susan asks: I am scared to be more visible and take on more responsibility. However, I’ve seen how much my career has been limited by the lack of opportunities. I’m fed-up and ready to take the necessary steps to gain more visibility.
Coach Joel answers: Visibility will help you in your career. Help you create opportunities to interact with people in other departments. Show others how talented and how great you are. Take on projects that will not just have more visibility, but more influence, impact and value to the firm. Here are three steps you can take right now to overcome fear and gain visibility:
- List your talents and strengths. You have unique strengths and assets you bring to the job. Write down all your skills and talents. What do you do well? What comes easily to you? You were hired because your employers believed you brought value to the company. What value do you bring?As you list your strengths, you develop confidence. These are likely things you do better than those around you. You might have strong ethics, are dependable, or solve problems well. Give yourself credit where it is due. If you have trouble with this, ask your friends, co-workers, or family to help you see your strengths.
- Dive into your favorite jobs at work. What do you love to do at work? What jobs or accomplishments make you the happiest? When you focus on those jobs and build on those strengths, you’ll have greater job satisfaction and greater visibility. You will also bring more value to the company.There’s a story of a squirrel, a mole and an owl hired at a company. The squirrel worried he lagged behind mole in digging and stayed extra late trying to dig better. The mole feared he wasn’t as good at tree climbing as the squirrel and spent a lot of time practicing climbing. The owl soared on the winds, swooped for the catch, and soon caught the attention of management for her great skills. When we improve what comes naturally, we naturally come to the attention of management. Study and grow in your area of strength.
- Look for gaps and needs. Spend time listening to those around you, especially, those above you. What are the problems they are facing? What does the company need right now? The job of your leaders is to focus on what is the best for the business. Your job is to make the leader look good.Look for places you can match up your strengths with the company’s needs. Here is where you will bring the greatest value to the company. It will impress your boss and make him look good. Your leaders will thank you and be grateful to you for solving that problem.
You will have less fear in speaking up and moving into the limelight when you know you have strengths and talents and you are confident you can use them to help the company’s objectives. Automatically you’ll gain more visibility. People will be delighted to hear what you have to say! You’ll speak from authority… and people will listen.
Personal leadership coaches work with clients to help them find ways to increase visibility and add value to their company. Find out how this can lead you to overcome fears and produce dramatic results. E-mail Joel now to find out how he can help!
Talkback: What’s helped you overcoming fear? Has there been a time you’ve stepped up to add value to the company? What were the results? Leave your comments and advice for Susan below.
“It is important for aspiring managers to make themselves visible to those with higher authority in order to increase their prospects for promotion.”
~ Bernard M. Bass ~
Janet feels like a wren in a cage full of peacocks. Surrounded by superstars with lots of creative credentials, she has trouble getting noticed in staff meetings or even at coffee. She has heard some of her colleagues talk about the personal leadership coaches they work with, but she’s not even sure what that is, let alone how to find a good one.
Janet knows she needs more than just a boost in her self-confidence—she needs a personal brand that will enhance her image. She begins with some self-analysis and decides there are three steps she will take immediately.
- Accentuate the positive
- Act as if
- Ask for opportunities
1. Accentuate the positive.
Janet knows that there are plenty of areas where she’s at the top of her game. But when she’s surrounded by other superstars, it’s tough to be noticed. She begins by questioning her colleagues. When Joe brags about his latest successful client presentation, for example, she asks him for more details. This has the subtle effect of both getting Joe’s attention and giving Janet useful information about what’s recognized and valued in her work group.
It also places her on an even footing with Joe and gives her a chance to talk about some of her latest projects and successes. Asking Joe’s advice lets him know that they are colleagues, not competitors. Janet has taken an important first step in showing other people how she expects to be treated.
2. Act as if.
Janet’s next strategy is to look up. She mentally chooses a couple of managers who are two or three rungs above her on the corporate ladder. Part of what she’s doing is looking for potential mentors or advocates within the organization. But she also begins modeling their behavior. She notices how they act in staff meetings, how they take charge in certain situations, how they organize projects.
She begins to build her personal brand by looking and acting the part of an executive. She polishes her writing skills so that her emails and memos reflect her creativity as well as absolute perfection in grammar and spelling. She upgrades her wardrobe with a few classic pieces that make her look and feel more powerful.
3. Ask for opportunities.
Janet consciously begins to build her success portfolio. She keeps a written record of her successful projects, as well as making a list of ideas for future assignments. She meets with her boss, briefly reviews her recent accomplishments, and asks for a shot at managing a new client proposal.
She takes the same list of ideas and accomplishments to the executives she’s been watching. She asks them to become her mentors and advocates. As mentors, they can provide coaching and advice in internal company structure, plans, and politics. As advocates they can speak up for her and help her publicize herself within the company. They can also advise her about some of the personal leadership coaches that others in the company have used.
Janet’s efforts pay off, not only in increased self-confidence but also in substantial recognition for her contributions. She decides to enhance her progress even further by asking her colleagues how to find a good executive coach.
If you’re feeling shut out or unrecognized, you can implement Janet’s growth strategy on the job, starting tomorrow. And for even better results, get a personal leadership coach who can help you maximize your upward progress.
Talkback: How’s your personal brand? Are you being recognized by your colleagues and your bosses? Share some ideas that have worked for you.
Brian Asks: I’ve positioned myself into a number of opportunities which can raise my visibility with my firm’s leaders, but now I’m in the position of having to execute on that work while also maintaining my pipeline of new projects and my actual day job. How do I best handle this type of situation?
Joel Answers: As an executive coach and career coach, this question comes up often with my coaching clients. Following my advice, they seek out projects that will increase their visibility only to find that they suddenly have too much work to do! Don’t worry—the answer doesn’t involve working an extra 20 hours per week. Here are the three steps you should take to ensure that you can complete your highly visible projects without neglecting the rest of your work.
Step 1: Make the high-visibility projects your #1 priority. These are the projects that will lead to more and better opportunities in the organization. They are your keys to advancement and greater influence in the company. Put them first.
Step 2: Delegate as much as possible. Through careful delegation to your subordinates and team members, you can clear part of your workload while providing them with an increased sense of empowerment and responsibility. Don’t just dump a bunch of busy work on them. Give them real projects that they know are important. Some of them may be looking to advance to the next level as well, and they’ll jump at the chance to prove that they’re ready to handle your job once you get promoted.
Step 3: Prioritize what’s left. Once you have delegated as much as possible and blocked off the time you’ll need to complete your high-visibility projects, determine how much time you’ll have to do the rest of your work. Create a list of what’s left and prioritize it so that you’ll be able to see what you need to focus on.
You might also want to consider executive coaching to help you advance in your career. A coach can help you look at things from a different perspective so you can see exactly what steps you need to take to stand out, get noticed, and get ahead at work.
Find out how an executive coach can help you get ahead in your career by taking Joel’s free coaching assessments. You’ll get a personalized response with tips and suggestions specific to your situation.
Talkback: Have you had to balance your current responsibilities with additional projects that could get you noticed by company leaders? How did you do manage it? Leave your feedback in the comments, or ask a question for a future Q&A with Joel.
“I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
~ Michael Jordan ~
Robin Greene was smart and successful; she was often the go-to person on her team if someone needed advice and she was always open to giving it. So when an internal promotion opened up and Robin looked around her, it seemed that she was the only one really deserving of it. However, three days later, she overheard loud and chatty Bill boasting about how he’d just been promoted.
Frustrated, Robin questioned her boss, Isaac, about how this could’ve happened. His answer: Robin was really good at what she did but Bill understood how to increase visibility in the organization and build influence, which had ultimately landed him the promotion.
Isaac offered Robin some sound advice to help her increase her own visibility in the organization to give her a better chance at getting the promotion next time:
Don’t make your work look too easy. Isaac suggested that although she didn’t actually say it, Robin’s attitude had often been, “This is simple and anyone could do this.” Simple or not, Robin was sabotaging her own success by undervaluing her skills and strengths. Isaac urged Robin to first value her own skill sets and then market herself on how her unique skills helped her to stand out and be more visible among her peers.
Build influence up, down, and laterally. Robin’s work was commendable, but it wasn’t recognized or visible. Isaac told Robin how important it was to build positive relationships with those above her, those she supervised, cross-departmentally, and externally. “Influence is essential to getting ahead,” emphasized Isaac. Along with being visible, the higher up you want to go in a company the more influence you need to have.
Hire a professional coach. If Robin wanted to advance fast, Isaac suggested she employ the services of an experienced executive coach who could help accelerate her development and save her from learning things the hard way. A career advancement coach would offer hands-on tools and teach her ways to increase visibility at work without self-promoting, build influence correctly and also help with other key areas like developing executive presence.
Have you just missed a promotion? Have you wondered, “How can I increase my visibility in the organization in order to get ahead?” Do you want to learn the trade secrets of building influence?
For immediate answers and real results that work, invest in a comprehensive executive coaching program today.
Talkback: Are you a woman slipping under the radar while male employees get ahead of you? What steps are you taking in your organization, to increase your visibility? Share your story in the comments below!
Are you asking yourself the question, “How do I increase visibility at work?” If you’re not, you should be. According to executive coach Joel Garfinkle, increasing your visibility and getting known in your organization is critical to landing the promotion you want, getting others to value your work, and getting ahead in your career.
So how do you judge if you’re visible enough or not? Here are three warning signs to help you determine whether you need to work on being more visible:
Warning #1: You pay no attention to branding.
Branding or creating a unique identity for yourself is crucial. Without creating your personal brand it can be incredibly difficult to stand out. Let’s face it: Your firm may be saturated with talented people just like you doing the exact same thing. So how do you stand out? Identify the key areas that you shine at and become known as an “expert” in those areas in your firm. By doing this you can very easily become the first person people go to when they need help in that area. This helps increase your visibility at work.
Warning #2: You’re afraid to take risks.
Do you speak up in meetings? Do you hold back at expressing an innovative idea you have for a new product? If you’re more comfortable taking on a passive role—staying in the safety of your comfort zone and hiding in the shadows while others take the limelight—don’t be alarmed if they’re the ones who land promotions and get ahead of you at work. To increase visibility you must be willing to take a risk. That means not being afraid to share your ideas and take responsibility for new tasks.
Warning #3: You rarely talk to senior executives.
Do you hang around the water cooler with your co-workers and have lunch with the same people every day? Do you ever try to strike up a conversation with upper-level management or attempt to get them to know you? Well, that’s definitely warning sign number three. Associate with people whom you aspire to be like and show them the value you provide to them. Try to get to know your boss’s boss and volunteer for opportunities that will give you a chance to interact with those above you.
To read a case study on how a senior director at a large corporation increased his visibility at work to get the promotion he wanted, head over to a recent blog post I wrote titled: Stand Out! Seven Ways to Increase Your Visibility at Work.
To learn how to use visibility along with perception and influence to get ahead in your career, read my new book, Getting Ahead: Three Steps to Take Your Career to the Next Level.