Looking to get ahead? Blending in and going with the flow might keep you out of trouble, but it will also make you easily overlooked in your workplace. The best way to get ahead is to make sure your voice is heard and that you get noticed as an effective and proactive employee and potential leader.
Every company, no matter how large, is always going to be looking for the few who stand out as leaders among their peers. Keep in mind, a leader isn’t just someone who is in charge. Anyone can stand out as a leader by taking proactive measures or going above and beyond what is expected of them. In the following, we’ll cover 5 ways you can stand out at your company.
The first step to standing out is to listen & learn more about your company. In any company, it’s important to understand what the organization’s key priorities are, how it makes money, how it operates on a daily basis, and where you fit in.
Employees who take their knowledge and apply it to better the company are the ones who stand out. The best way to obtain this knowledge is to listen. Listening means paying attention to everyone you interact with and remembering what they say about their aspirations, their concerns, and their ideas. Not only does it make you a more relatable person in your office, it will also make you more aware of the dynamics of your workplace. This information is important because it provides you with the tools you need to create unique solutions, make a larger impact on your company, and therefore, stand out.
While it may seem scary to speak up about an idea or an opinion you have, you’ll never be able to set yourself apart if you always remain silent. Leaders are willing to speak their mind, even if this means taking a risk, especially in meetings.
In every meeting there are contributors and there are silent observers. Try to contribute in any way you can, but mostly at a high level. In other words, don’t try to speak up just to speak in a meeting. If you have a great idea or a hesitation, chances are, someone else was thinking the exact same thing. When you speak up, you’re not just speaking up for yourself, but for the greater good of the company and it won’t go un-noticed.
One of the surest ways to stand out is to go above and beyond what is expected of you. Look for new tasks you could take on, or current tasks you could improve, for the better of the company. Offer to help others if you have down time or if you feel the task they are working on falls under your expertise.
Part of being proactive is also anticipating problems that might arise and then coming up with ideas or suggestions to fix them before they happen. Think big picture and identify ways that you could create efficiencies and lead your team members to higher success.
Employees who are trusted are often the ones management will turn to when they need someone to handle important projects. According to Kenneth Cucchia of Deals4Meals, “Loyalty is one of the most important traits [he] look(s) for. No business relationship will ever work out well without trust.” Part of standing out means building a trustworthy business relationship that will show your employer you can be counted on when the moment arises. However, trust cannot be built over night. The best way to show your peers and your company that you are trustworthy is to be consistent and reliable.
While trust takes time to build, it can be destroyed in an instant. That is why it is important to always be respectful of those around you and try not to burn bridges. If you have a difference of opinion with someone, it’s best to approach them directly and in a respectful manner. Going behind someone’s back when you disagree with them could ultimately break their trust.
If you take the initiative to lead a project, new process, or a team’s day to day activities, you will absolutely stand out among the rest. Leaders think strategically and broadly; they ask themselves, “How can things be done more efficiently?” and “How can I add value to the organization?” When a new project lands on your plate, take the steps to place yourself as a leader on that project. Someone has to be the leader, so why not you? You don’t need to be the assigned “Lead” to be a leader. Contributing at a high level and providing valuable feedback will make you stand out and set you apart as a leader on any project you’re a part of.