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Newsletter 255
September 11, 2012

In This Issue...
Getting Noticed
How to be a Good Team Player
Finding Your Allies
What To Do When There's Too Much To Do
Managing in Australia
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  Get Noticed - For the Right Reasons!

You may be a strong performer on your team. Unfortunately, this doesn't mean much unless people know about it! So, how can you get noticed - for the right reasons - in a busy workplace?

Our featured article this week explores this - in it, find out how to get the recognition you deserve.

We also explore how you can build your reputation as a team player, and we look at how you can expand your network of "allies" at work.

Enjoy getting noticed!
  James & Rachel

  James Manktelow and Rachel Thompson
MindTools.com - Essential skills for an excellent career!
Featured Resources at Mind Tools
Getting Noticed
Staying "Visible" at Work

Is your hard work overlooked by your boss? Learn how to get noticed, so that you can keep moving towards your career goals.
All Readers' Skill-Builder
Getting Noticed
How to Be a Good Team Player
Maximizing Your Contribution

Teamworking may be an integral part of our jobs, but what makes someone a good team player? Learn how to play to your strengths within a team. All Readers' Skill-Builder
How to Be a Good Team Player
Finding Your Allies
Building a Personal Support Base

Things are so much easier when people help and support one another at work. Find out how to build your own support network.
All Readers' Skill-Builder
Finding Your Allies
... And From the Mind Tools Club
What To Do When There's Too Much To Do,
By Laura Stack

This book highlights a six-step process for accomplishing more with less effort. Find out more about it here.
Premium Members' Book Insight
What To Do When There's Too Much To Do
Managing in Australia
Working Successfully in an Independent Culture

Learn how to manage a team successfully in friendly, independent Australia. All Members' Skill-Builder
Managing in Australia

This powerful app allows you to make notes in many different formats, and then access them from anywhere.
All Members' App Review

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Editors' Choice Article
Getting Noticed
Staying "Visible" at Work

Do you sometimes feel that your hard work is "invisible"?

Perhaps you do such good work on a regular basis that your manager takes you for granted. Perhaps, because of this, you're no longer recognized and rewarded for your efforts, as you once were.

In this article, we'll discuss strategies for getting noticed for the great work that you do. This, in turn, will help you to continue moving towards your career goals.
Getting Noticed
Get noticed for the great work that you do.
© iStockphoto/alexsl

Why Work on Getting Noticed?

You might be the hardest worker in your organization, and the one everyone wants on their team - but if you're not in people's thoughts, then you'll be passed up for new projects, additional responsibilities, awards, and promotions.

That's why you need to be visible at work!

Let's look at some strategies that you can use to get noticed in the workplace.

Developing Specialist Skills

Do you consider yourself to be a "generalist" - someone who does many different things in different roles - or a "specialist" - someone who is an expert in one or two specific areas?

New businesses often hire generalists, because they can perform well in so many different roles. As organizations grow, however, specialists are often hired to focus on key areas. This may leave the hard-working generalists feeling pushed aside and disempowered.

If you're a generalist, think strategically about what types of skills your organization needs. Work on building some of these skills to become a specialist. The more knowledgeable and skillful you become in a particular area, the more likely you are to be noticed for your work.

Remember that organizations also tend to look for people with great soft skills - non-technical skills and traits such as creative thinking, emotional intelligence, conflict resolution skills, communication skills, flexibility, and coaching skills. These are often as important as professional expertise.

If you're thinking about becoming a specialist in a certain area, don't forget to consider these important soft skills. Helping your boss resolve a major conflict could get you noticed just as much as delivering an expert presentation.

Building a Network

Building a network of contacts will help you get noticed by the people who matter. If you help other people out when they need it, they will help you out too. (Our article on the Influence Model explores this further.)

And if you take the time to nurture relationships with the people around you, you can build a network of "allies" who can help you get assigned to interesting, significant, or eye-catching projects. They may also recommend you to other departments, which can open up opportunities that otherwise might not be available.

Also, think about building your network outside of office hours. Socializing with colleagues after work often makes everyone feel more relaxed and open to new friendships.

Tracking Your Accomplishments

When you're working hard, it's easy to forget what you've achieved. This won't help when it's time for your performance review.

Keep track of all of your accomplishments. If clients or colleagues give you compliments, write them down. If the compliment came in an email, print it. If you exceeded last quarter's sales goals, get the paperwork that proves it.

Put all of these great compliments and achievements in a file, and bring the file to your performance review. This gives you hard evidence of the great job that you're doing. Then, when it's time to ask for a pay raise or promotion, it will be harder for your manager to say no.

Getting Out of the Shadows

Sometimes, whether intentionally or unintentionally, your manager or colleagues may present your ideas as their own. If you want to get noticed, you must receive credit for your own ideas.

If this happens to you, first find out if it's also happening to anyone else. Often, a colleague or boss "borrows" ideas from several people, not just one. One way to discover this is by simply watching other people's body language around this person.

If your colleague or manager is taking credit for only your work, but no one else's, then document it every time it occurs. If practical, "watermark" your work whenever you can (this is a feature in some word processing software packages). If the person claims your ideas as their own in a meeting, gently but firmly correct the misstatement.

Taking on More Responsibilities

You can also get noticed by taking on additional responsibilities, whenever you can.

This doesn't mean that you should overwork yourself. But, if you see a new project or role that will help you expand your skills, take advantage of it, particularly if it's one that has high visibility within the organization, or has a significant impact on the bottom line.

This is particularly important with innovation and process improvement: developing a reputation as an innovator or creative thinker can be valuable. If you often come up with good ideas, then try to get assigned to projects where this is valued.

While you're doing this, make sure that you continue doing the core parts of your job well. If you don't, you'll get noticed - but for all the wrong reasons!

More Tips on Getting Noticed

Here are some more ideas for getting noticed:

  • Stay visible - Spend a few minutes every day greeting and talking with your co-workers - a simple smile can help tremendously. Also, try to speak to colleagues face-to-face, when you can, instead of sending emails or instant messages.

  • Praise others - If you have a colleague who works as hard as you, then praise this person in front of your manager. Be specific, and sincere, about what the person is doing.

  • Stay updated on your industry - Read trade newsletters or other relevant materials that keep you up-to-date on trends and technology. You never know when this information will be valuable.

  • Find a mentor - Mentors can offer valuable advice and career coaching. Chances are that your mentor has experienced what you're going through, and can help you navigate issues successfully.

  • Get involved with your organization's charity events - Volunteering for these activities - like running in a race or coaching a children's team - can help you build your network.
Key Points

People can often overlook your efforts, even if you work hard consistently. If this happens to you, it's up to you to get noticed and stay in their thoughts, so that you can keep moving toward your career goals.

Become a specialist in areas that are important to your organization. Build a network of allies, network inside and outside work, track your accomplishments, and take on additional responsibilities whenever possible.

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A Final Note

Many ambitious and talented people haven't progressed in their careers because they are "invisible" to key decision makers. Don't let this happen to you!

Next week, we look at helping your people build emotional intelligence.

Have a great week!

James Manktelow

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© Mind Tools Ltd, 2012.

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