Increasing your visibility in the workplace

Carlo Atienza-Sui Generis

ONE of the worst things that could happen during performance reviews is when you list all your accomplishments to your manager, and then they are surprised you did all those things. This is especially true when your manager has numerous direct reports, and your work either flies over their head, or you have not done enough to catch their attention.

When productivity trackers and milestones are not enough to make your manager notice your accomplishments, you need to think of ways to increase your visibility so that when they think of someone they can rely on for a certain task, your name comes up as the first choice. Increasing your visibility to your manager will also help you become familiar to the right people in your organization who can help you get your work done faster and even promote you to others because of your expertise. With your increased visibility, you can then collaborate with others and open doors to new opportunities where you can develop and use your unique talents and skills.

Before going outside your team, your work should be recognized and appreciated by your own team. Make sure that you have a good working relationship with your direct supervisor because once you become familiar in the organization, other organizational leaders will start becoming curious about you and the first one they will ask is your direct supervisor. So, when someone from your organization asks who you are and the quality of your work, what would your manager say?

One way you can improve your standing with your manager is to take the extra mile by asking for special projects to show that you are willing to improve your skills. Take the initiative to discuss this with your manager so that when a suitable project for you comes along, they will think of you first.

When asking for special projects, leverage on your expertise and look for opportunities to help the team improve the way they do their work. One of the things I learned in previous jobs is how to do a communication plan for internal communication. I took on the special assignment of creating one of the team’s projects, and it helped my manager appreciate the different communication channels available in the organization.

Look for ways to improve your team’s work processes by identifying avenues to reduce cost and increase productivity. One of the things that worked for me was helping my team in using new technology. When my organization started to use a new office software so we could work from home, people in the team were not familiar with it and I would do simulations with them to help them get familiar with using its video conferencing. I eased them through it and later, I became part of the organization-wide team that helped cascade the software to other departments.

Attend training sessions to get to know people from across the organization. Learning sessions provide the venue to know more about what others do, and possibly adapt best practices which you can also use in your own team. Take advantage of the opportunity to get to know others and establish good relations so that you can tap them when the opportunity comes. Offer to help as well and if needed, connect them to other people who might be able to help.

When asked to join a cross-functional meeting, speak up. People need to know how you work and how you think so they can appreciate what you bring to the table. If you do not speak up, they will not find out. A good practice to help you significantly contribute to a meeting is to read pertinent materials before the meeting. I remember, one of the first things I asked from my manager was to include me in some of his meetings as an observer so that I could understand how people think in the organization. That helped me understand the culture and how I should present ideas and suggestions in meetings.

Join cross-functional projects or interest groups where you can work with other people in the organization. One of the things I was asked when I joined an organization was to create a risk registry which I had no idea how to do. I asked my manager for someone I could consult, and he introduced me to someone who was able to help. That started a good working relationship and every time I needed something related to risk, I would always go to that person for consultation.

An interest group is also a good venue for meeting others in the organization. Being part of the peer support group has helped me appreciate the different personalities in the organization and also honed my interpersonal skills in dealing with different personalities. You can learn more about these interest groups by talking to your manager or someone from human resources. Being in an interest group helps people relax and not be worried with titles and positions because the intent is to enjoy a common activity.

If you cannot join in cross-functional projects, then you can help out in organization-wide activities. I was asked twice, in two different organizations I had worked with, to be in a company video to speak about how great it was working for them and the different benefits I enjoyed as part of the organization. If you are not given this opportunity, you can volunteer for roadshows, hosting events, or being at the registration table where people can see you and become familiar with you.

In the end, your visibility in the organization should be based on your expertise, how you work with others, and a clear track record of your accomplishments. All of these should be evident to your team, which in turn will be known by departments you often work with and could even reach top management. Your work should speak for itself and as your visibility increases, so does your influence.

Image credits: Linkedin Sales Solutions on Unsplash


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