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6 Steps to Stand Out From the Crowd at Your Workplace

6 Steps to Stand Out From the Crowd at Your Workplace

Sometimes we can feel invisible at work. We might do our job well, but perhaps do it so well we are rarely noticed for the effort we make. However, it’s important to be noticed in the workplace so that we can improve our position, either to possibly be bumped up for a raise or promotion, or just to feel better overall about the work we do.

Here are six ways that will help you stand out at work:

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1. Focus on your strengths

According to Forbes magazine contributor William Arruda, “Focusing on your weaknesses is a losing strategy.” In order to stand out at work, don’t constantly work on fixing your weaknesses, instead promote your strengths. Maybe you’re not the best at the paperwork, but you’re great at sales. Focus then on making sales and enlist some help for the things you’re not great at.

2. Follow up with projects

Be the follow-up person. Whenever a project is started, someone needs to be the one to brief those in charge about how it’s going. Be that person. Be the one who communicates progress and gathers the information together for presentation. This puts you in front of more people and helps you stand out.

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3. Do more

Just because you do your job doesn’t mean you’re standing out. It’s important to go above and beyond what your job description says. You don’t want to be noticed as the person who rushes out the door as soon as the clock hits 5pm no matter where you are in a certain project. Do more. Go above and beyond the call. If you’re working on a project, keep working until it’s done. Show your boss that you’re the one who is willing to come in early, stay late or work from home until an assignment is complete.

4. Be helpful

Wherever you can, jump in and lend a hand. Don’t spread yourself too thin, but if someone needs an extra hand with research or even just an extra cup of coffee, jump in. Volunteer to do things that can help the company — even if they aren’t part of your normal duties. Take a lap during the charity relay race, offer to set up a promotional table at the fair, be the first to respond to a call for help. It’s important to show your employers that you’re not just interested in what’s in it for you, but that you’re a team player interested in moving the company forward so that you can all benefit.

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5. Take the lead

The best way to stand out is to take the lead on a project. Be the first to say, “Sure, I’ll take that on.” And don’t be afraid to delegate to make sure the job gets done well. It’s important to not only stand out to your boss, but also to your peers at work. You want them to go to you when they need help. But don’t be ‘braggy’ about it. Make sure you’re not known as doing things just to be noticed. Be genuine in your desire to help and to lead.

6. Be nice

OK, maybe that sounds a little silly. But really, be nice to people and don’t bad mouth your company. Ever. Even if you really want to. Promote your company and talk it up, showing people you’re a leader. Someone who talks trash about their company is really biting the hand that feeds them. If things aren’t the way you’d like them to be then work to make them better. Be kind and considerate in all of your dealings at work, so even when you do mess up — and you will occasionally — people won’t be happy to see you fail. If you act like a jerk, they will be pleased to see you struggle. If you are enthusiastic about the company and encouraging to the people with whom you work, they will want to encourage you as well and help you succeed.

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More by this author

Michelle Kennedy Hogan

Michelle is an explorer, editor, author of 15 books, and mom of eight.

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Last Updated on July 16, 2019

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

7 Powerful Habits To Win In Office Politics

Office politics – a taboo word for some people. It’s a pervasive thing at the workplace.

In its simplest form, workplace politics is simply about the differences between people at work; differences in opinions, conflicts of interests are often manifested as office politics. It all goes down to human communications and relationships.

There is no need to be afraid of office politics. Top performers are those who have mastered the art of winning in office politics. Below are 7 good habits to help you win at the workplace:

1. Be Aware You Have a Choice

The most common reactions to politics at work are either fight or flight. It’s normal human reaction for survival in the wild, back in the prehistoric days when we were still hunter-gatherers.

Sure, the office is a modern jungle, but it takes more than just instinctive reactions to win in office politics. Instinctive fight reactions will only cause more resistance to whatever you are trying to achieve; while instinctive flight reactions only label you as a pushover that people can easily take for granted. Neither options are appealing for healthy career growth.

Winning requires you to consciously choose your reactions to the situation. Recognize that no matter how bad the circumstances, you have a choice in choosing how you feel and react. So how do you choose? This bring us to the next point…

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2. Know What You Are Trying to Achieve

When conflicts happen, it’s very easy to be sucked into tunnel-vision and focus on immediate differences. That’s a self-defeating approach. Chances are, you’ll only invite more resistance by focusing on differences in people’s positions or opinions.

The way to mitigate this without looking like you’re fighting to emerge as a winner in this conflict is to focus on the business objectives. In the light of what’s best for the business, discuss the pros and cons of each option. Eventually, everyone wants the business to be successful; if the business don’t win, then nobody in the organization wins.

It’s much easier for one to eat the humble pie and back off when they realize the chosen approach is best for the business.

By learning to steer the discussion in this direction, you will learn to disengage from petty differences and position yourself as someone who is interested in getting things done. Your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is mature, strategic and can be entrusted with bigger responsibilities.

3. Focus on Your Circle of Influence

At work, there are often issues which we have very little control over. It’s not uncommon to find corporate policies, client demands or boss mandates which affects your personal interests.

Gossiping and complaining are common responses to these events that we cannot control. But think about it, other than that short term emotional outlet, what tangible results do gossiping really accomplish? In most instances, none.

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Instead of feeling victimized and angry about the situation, focus on the things that you can do to influence the situation — your circle of influence. This is a very empowering technique to overcome the feeling of helplessness. It removes the victimized feeling and also allows others to see you as someone who knows how to operate within given constraints.

You may not be able to change or decide on the eventual outcome but, you can walk away knowing that you have done the best within the given circumstances.

Constraints are all around in the workplace; with this approach, your boss will also come to appreciate you as someone who is understanding and positive.

4. Don’t Take Sides

In office politics, it is possible to find yourself stuck in between two power figures who are at odds with each other. You find yourself being thrown around while they try to outwit each other and defend their own position; all at the expense of you getting the job done. You can’t get them to agree on a common decision for a project, and neither of them want to take ownership of issues; they’re too afraid they’ll get stabbed in the back for any mishaps.

In cases like this, focus on the business objectives and don’t take side with either of them – even if you like one better than the other. Place them on a common communication platform and ensure open communications among all parties, so that no one can claim “I didn’t say that”.

By not taking sides, you’ll help to direct conflict resolution in an objective manner. You’ll also build trust with both parties. That’ll help to keep the engagements constructive and focus on business objectives.

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5. Don’t Get Personal

In office politics, you’ll get angry with people. It happens. There will be times when you feel the urge to give that person a piece of your mind and teach him a lesson. Don’t.

People tend to remember moments when they were humiliated or insulted. Even if you win this argument and get to feel really good about it for now, you’ll pay the price later when you need help from this person. What goes around comes around, especially at the workplace.

To win in the office, you’ll want to build a network of allies which you can tap into. The last thing you want during a crisis or an opportunity is to have someone screw you up because they harbor ill-intentions towards you – all because you’d enjoyed a brief moment of emotional outburst at their expense.

Another reason to hold back your temper is your career advancement. Increasingly, organizations are using 360 degree reviews to promote someone. Even if you are a star performer, your boss will have to fight a political uphill battle if other managers or peers see you as someone who is difficult to work with. The last thing you’ll want is to make it difficult for your boss to champion you for a promotion.

6. Seek to Understand, Before Being Understood

The reason people feel unjustified is because they felt misunderstood. Instinctively, we are more interested in getting the others to understand us than to understand them first. Top people managers and business leaders have learned to suppress this urge.

Surprisingly, seeking to understand is a very disarming technique. Once the other party feels that you understand where he/she is coming from, they will feel less defensive and be open to understand you in return. This sets the stage for open communications to arrive at a solution that both parties can accept.

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Trying to arrive at a solution without first having this understanding is very difficult – there’s little trust and too much second-guessing.

7. Think Win-Win

As mentioned upfront, political conflicts happen because of conflicting interests. Perhaps due to our schooling, we are taught that to win, someone else needs to lose. Conversely, we are afraid to let someone else win, because it implies losing for us.

In business and work, that doesn’t have to be the case.

Learn to think in terms of “how can we both win out of this situation?” This requires that you first understand the other party’s perspective and what’s in it for him.

Next, understand what’s in it for you. Strive to seek out a resolution that is acceptable and beneficial to both parties. Doing this will ensure that everyone truly commit to the agreed resolution and will not pay only lip-service to it.

People simply don’t like to lose. You may get away with win-lose tactics once or twice but very soon, you’ll find yourself without allies in the workplace.

Thinking win-win is an enduring strategy that builds allies and help you win in the long term.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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