How to raise your visibility in the workplace
It can be tough to try to raise your visibility at work, without pestering or alienating your boss. These simple steps will help you tread that line.
We women are always told: “put your hands up, speak up and step up to raise your visibility.” But how do you do that without looking creepy and alienating your colleagues? After all, you still have to live in the village.
It can be tricky to attract the attention of someone senior. They are probably busy with their own agenda and workload to deal with. Your main goal is to:
- Build a strong relationship based on trust.
- Demonstrate that you understand the demands of their role and the mission of the business.
- Be strategic about how and when to raise your visibility with them, and for which issues. You don’t want to be perceived as insecure and unable to operate independently.
It can be a nightmare to navigate all the subtle dos and don’ts. Here are some tips to raise your visibility:
Choose your issue strategically
Decide what you want to be known for and how to develop your reputation. You might want to be known as the go-to person on a specific speciality or issue, or become involved in a defined area of the business. This should be in line with your short-term career strategy and longer-term career goals. If you don’t have any, now is the time to create some!
Respect their time
Make sure you have prepared your question in advance and alert them that you only need a few minutes. If your boss is an open-door type of manager, you can just knock and walk in. Ask if you are disturbing. Don’t assume that it’s OK. If your manager is more structured, you may need to schedule a short time block on her calendar. Alternatively, email or intranet can also be effective. You should also be prepared for random encounters – sharing an elevator or standing in line for coffee. Opportunities come when you least expect them.
Do you find it difficult to interact with people in the office? Or do you feel like you just don’t quite make the connections you should? 3Plus can help you with our knowledge on Relationship Mastery: Business Success and Personal Joy.
Ask for feedback or advice not a favour
It’s always important to build a relationship. Ask for feedback and advice first rather than a favour. It can be input on a project or a specific element of your work which could be helpful. Make sure that it is a valid topic rather than something mundane that you could figure out yourself. This is where empathy and astuteness kicks in. She probably has a lot on her plate and you don’t want her to see you as a distracting or needy report. So, play it carefully.
If there is a request for a volunteer, put your hand up. This will give you direct access. You can also offer to mentor someone junior to you for your career development and ask her to recommend someone.
Collaborate with colleagues
Sometimes double teaming with a colleague, or leading, or being a key player on a project can also bring you to the attention of the hierarchy.
Simple actions can make a big difference to your career. Learn more with our Career Booster Coaching.
Organise an event
All workplaces have social sides, and one way of raising visibility is to organise an event or fund raiser for charity. Pay special attention to this as it can be a gender trap. Women take on responsibility for a higher percentage of invisible and non-promotional work, not related to business KPIs, than their male colleagues. Organising something once or even twice should be fine, but make sure that any other requests are rotated.
Write an article
Make a contribution to a company blog or newsletter, sector or regional publication. If you can cite your boss even better. Tag him or her, especially if you can put it out on LinkedIn as a bonus.
If you have team events or special occasions, take a photo and circulate it, tagging all involved. Remember to ask permission first as some people are sensitive about their photos being put online. Make sure it’s a professional image with everyone looking and behaving appropriately.
All of this is about extending your personal brand and managing up. If you get this right – it’s a win for everyone!