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Three Ways to Stand Out at Work

You’ve set goals.

You’re targeting professional milestones.

You’ve crafted a plan for success.

Does it include ways to be more visible at work with your managers and even your colleagues?   

Your work and the effort you put in at work are only part of being successful. Increasing your visibility directly impacts your compensation and opportunities to advance your career. 

Letting your work speak for itself leaves a lot of room for interpretation and quite honestly results in a lot of missed opportunities every single day.

Standing out at work doesn’t require you to take on more work. It’s not about being the first one to the office and the last one to leave (or log off.) It doesn’t mean you have to brag about everything you’re working on.

Your visibility at work comes down to - being strategic and intentional in your interactions. Here are three tangible ways you can stand out every day: 

 1. Do what you say you’re going to do. It’s the simplest way to build trust. You can do that in obvious ways like showing up to work on time, sending the follow up email and finishing the project on time.

But there’s also a way to build trust and do what you say you’re going to do in your interactions. Something you probably don’t think twice about.

For example, consider the last time you said, “This will only take a second.” Or “I just have a quick question.” We’ve all been there. Dragged into a “quick” conversation that’s still going 20 minutes later.

Here’s the missed opportunity – being very specific about what you are going to do.

Add a measure of accountability to your conversations and promises by including specific measures of success. It’s asking one question. It’s requesting a 10-minute conversation. It’s promising to send the follow up email by 4pm on Thursday and then doing what you say you’re going to do.

This is one of the ways I build trust in a locker room. When I ask an athlete for an interview I specify how long the conversation will last. I measure that in number of questions or length of conversation, so I might ask for three questions or a five minute conversation. The length doesn’t matter as much as the ability to prove I did what I said I was going to do. I’ll end conversations by saying “Those were my three questions,” and it gets their attention every time. 

It's one of the ways that allows me to stand out in a locker room and when I create those same timelines and parameters in business conversations it gives me an opportunity to build trust in every single interaction.

2. Invest in people -  one word at a time. There is a dollars and cents component of investing in people. There’s also the impact of feeling valued and seen. The words you choose to acknowledge and recognize the efforts of a colleague or employee go a long way in cultivating a culture where people feel valued and seen.

It’s as simple as saying, “Thank you for being someone I can count on to get the job done.”

You don’t need a 1-on-1 meeting. You don’t need to single anyone out in an all-staff meeting. You don’t need to make a huge show of heaping praise on any one person. It’s a single comment in real time that accurately reflects their effort or accomplishment.

For me as a sideline reporter that means calling out a great play at practice “I saw you make that play. That was a hellava catch.” Or commenting on how insightful a player was during an interview.

The value comes in the words you choose. “Great job!” doesn’t land the same way as “Your effort on the project was exceptional.” Or “You set everyone up to succeed in the way you approached the meeting.”

A thoughtful, accurate statement is a way to invest in the people around you and stand out as a leader at work.

3. Choose how you show up. Anyone can show up and do a job. In fact, I’m sure most of us do show up to work on a regular basis in exchange for a paycheck. But it’s how you show up that affects the people around you most.

If you want to stand out, check the energy and the attitude you’re showing up with. Are you smiling the minute you walk into the door? Are you pleasant to work around even if you’ve spent several late nights working to meet a deadline or are exhausted after traveling for 10 straight days? 

Consistently showing up with a great attitude is an underrated way to stand out at work.

If we put all the pieces together here’s what I’m saying: Your success is not all about you. The way people feel about working with you is a key component.

Making it easy for people to trust you is just as important as being able to do the work. When you’re enjoyable to work with people will jump at the chance to help, support and advocate for you. And all you need to do is be more strategic and intentional with your messaging and daily interactions.


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