How visible are you at work?
Being highly visible is one of the ways to play smart office politics and to help ensure that you will still have a job. After all, no one can promote you or keep from letting you go if they don’t know about you or your accomplishments. Here are some ways to practice “positive politics” that can help you in developing your visibility at work.
That’s right, volunteer for any kind of job or project that will give you visibility. An administrative assistant once told me that when she was in a new position, she volunteered to take notes at the weekly manager’s meeting so that she could get noticed and be included. (Smart Cookie!) When a higher-level position opened up, she was offered the job because her manager felt she already knew a lot about what was going on and would have a shorter learning curve.
2. Always look for better ways to do things and keep suggesting them.
Propose them to your boss before you mention them to anyone else, and do it in writing. Back up your ideas with facts and figures to show how your idea will affect the bottom line. That will definitely get your boss’s attention.
If you have a good boss, they will give you credit for the idea if it is accepted. If he suggests the idea as his own, then you know it is time to go find another boss.
3. Toot your own horn.
Make sure your boss knows of all your accomplishments. She is not a mind-reader and is probably too busy to notice much of what you do, so send update memos or e-mails or just matter-of-factly mention it. Of course, you don’t want to overdo it or it will backfire on you and you will become known as a braggart.
4. Never “let your hair down” at any social function.
Many a career has been destroyed at a party where some people have acted unprofessionally because of too much alcohol or the party spirit. Any function where people from your workplace will be is work, even if there’s an open bar.
A woman engineer learned this lesson the hard way. She attended a company Christmas party in the sexiest, low cut dress she could find. She wanted to show them her other side. Big mistake. Back at work, her male co workers never took her quite as seriously as before.
5. Connect and Network Internally.
When you have interesting information or a new piece of data that could be of interest to someone, drop them an e mail or note or go to see them in person with the information. When you let people know you are thinking of them, it makes them feel good and will help you develop more rapport with that person. Plus, they will be more willing to help you when you need it.
6. Look upon meetings as an opportunity to make contacts and create visibility.
Enter into discussions slowly at first, until you are acquainted with the politics of the meeting. Always come with one important thing to contribute at a meeting and speak up. But don’t speak just for the sake of speaking; instead, build a reputation for intelligent ideas and suggestions.
7. Tap into the grapevine.
Be sure to join co workers at lunch, coffee break and other occasions. Don’t eat lunch with the same people all the time. Cross over into other departments and even divisions to get yourself known. But remember to stay on the grapevine – news about what is going on in the company – and not descend into gossip.
It’s not only what you know, but who you know and who knows of you. Being good at your job is only part of the equation for getting ahead in your career. If key people aren’t aware of you, you’ll likely be overlooked when opportunity comes around. Try some of these strategies to develop your visibility at work and don’t miss out on opportunities to leverage your talents, improve your skills and take on interesting assignments.
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