A couple weeks ago, I received a little bit of a promotion at work. New manager. Pay increase. The good stuff. I work through an employment agency, so when my agent wrote me a congratulations note, she said, “You just stand out wherever you go, don’t you?”
Maybe. But it’s not coincidental. I have a way that I approach my work, and that is the reason that wherever I go, I stand out and end up moving up the rungs of the ladder sooner than anyone ever imagines.
As I got to thinking about it, I categorized how I approached my work into 7 buckets. Here’s my advice for standing out.
1. Don’t Forget Who Your Boss Is
In one of his books (can’t remember which) Donald Trump gives strong advice about working with your boss. He says something along the lines of “you only need to impress your boss” (I’m paraphrasing). That advice has stuck with me. The only person that really matters to me in regards to making an impression is my own boss. I don’t care what my peers think about my work. Their praise or criticism is important in that working as a team is crucial to getting things done successfully, but I only care to “impress” my boss.
So far, that’s worked out well for me.
2. Do Your Work
I am not a workaholic. I never volunteer to work overtime. I don’t do other people’s work for them. But I do this: I work when I am there. I don’t walk around gabbing. I don’t spend all my time on Facebook. I don’t sit staring into the distance.
The truth is that most of us are worth more than what we earn, and that is something everyone above us knows. When we do less than what we are asked, we become less valuable. Not so much that we would be fired, because usually we still come at a huge bargain; but still, less valuable.
So that means when you do what you are asked to do, you keep your value as an employee. There are so many people who do not even do what they are asked to do that doing even that much is going to help you stand out.
3. Become a Leader
No matter where you go or what you do, become a leader. Leaders get noticed by those in positions of authority simply because everyone is always pointing at them! What’s even better is that supervisors rely on employees with leadership because they cannot be everywhere at once. This is a value add (it’s also a great way to get a raise).
To be a leader, you don’t have to be perfect or know everything. But you do have to have confidence in what you do enough to teach others how to do it. Don’t do anyone else’s work – that’s not what leaders do. Instead, help them do it for themselves.
4. Ask Questions Early and Often
If you’re someone who doesn’t ask questions because you are afraid to look incompetent, please understand that asking questions is a sign of security and confidence. Most of the time, your boss is happy to answer your questions so that you can do your work the right way. People who don’t ask enough questions put themselves at risk of doing things incorrectly and making a big mess.
You will stand out if you are confident enough and secure enough to ask for clarity. I’m not going to embellish this by saying that it will show your boss your enthusiasm, yada yada. For me, it just makes it clear that you are interested in doing things right the first time. That’s huge.
5. Complain Vertically
If you must complain, send your complaints upstream. It does no good to go around complaining to your peers about something. If your boss doesn’t know there’s something wrong, you cannot expect them to fix it.
When I have an issue, I send it to my boss instead of to the peanut gallery. Not that I have issues frequently, but I am honest and genuinely interested in helping things run smoothly, so I’d rather go to the people with the ability to make changes.
I also realize that my bosses are human beings with complaints of their own. Remembering this will keep you humble, and could also establish a friendship with your boss that you didn’t think was possible.
6. Develop an Expertise
Have you ever worked in an environment where your boss knows how to do your job better than you? Perfect. You are now in a position to turn that around, and in doing so, become invaluable. It’s a huge opportunity for you to stand out.
I make it a point to know my work better than anyone – including my boss. That way, if anyone has questions, they come to me for answers. If you start doing this, you’ll find yourself getting noticed rapidly.
7. Practice Diplomacy
There’s a guy at my company who is like sandpaper. Sometimes, he’s useful, but most of the time, you’d rather not touch him. He’s just too irritating.
That’s not a great way to stand out or get promoted. While I don’t necessarily attribute very much credence or importance in my peer’s opinions, I don’t go out of my way to annoy them or cause drama, either. I make friends with my peers at work and outside of work as well.
Being a friendly person is a great way to get noticed. Obviously, it only gets you so far, but make it a point to be able to work on friendly terms with others.
There you have it! It’s just one recipe for standing out, which could lead to a promotion or chance to lead that project you’ve been wanting. Try them out and let me know what you think!
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