You can show up every day and put in the hard work, but when no one notices what can you expect? Many people desire more recognition for their efforts and contributions at work, but they do not know how to advocate for themselves. They are the unrecognized leaders. They want a promotion, a pay raise, or a shot to manage the next big project, but their leader is not aware of all the contributions they have quietly and consistently been making.
Fortunately, there are steps you can take to make yourself more visible at work without coming across as self-absorbed or obnoxious. It all comes down to making your achievements an integral part of your directors’ success.
Offer to help
To get the recognition you crave, look for ways to help your leadership team with a project they really care about. You can simply ask, “How can I help you?” or “What can I give you for the presentation on Thursday?” Is there a job that no one on your team wants to handle? Take care of it and your organization’s leaders will notice.
Look for missing pieces
Many leaders say they appreciate certain employees because those employees just “get it.” That “it,”, depends on your organization’s culture, values, and history. To find “it,” you may want to start asking questions that will give you an advantage. For example, approach team leaders with questions like, “Are there any hidden systems I’m not aware of?” or “What should I keep in mind as I tackle this problem?”
Improve your work
When you want your team leaders to notice you in a positive way, strive to do your best work, on time and on budget. When your leadership team knows they can count on you, they will be more likely to put in a genuine effort to help you get ahead. To gain insight on how to improve, you can improve, say something like “Can I get your feedback on my most recent presentation?” or “What am I doing well right now? And how could I improve?”
Ask senior leaders for advice
In addition to guidance on improvement areas, stakeholders who are invested in your success can also help you navigate your organization. Garfinkle says senior leaders can advocate for you in business planning and suggest your name when development opportunities arise. Consider asking executives within your company, “What have you done yourself to get to your current level?” and “What skills should I start practicing now to advance to the next level?”
If you want to be recognized during important conversations at work, it is important that you stay visible. Think about how you can assist your bosses in meaningful and productive ways, proactively look to understand hidden processes or systems, and ask leaders for their guidance. When you also focus on doing your best work, you can leverage your increased visibility to keep moving ahead in your organization and career. And this will help you thrive.