Who Knows Who You Are?
One of the most important things to realize as you work your way up the ladder at your organization is that other people are rarely as aware of you as you think. You work hard. You deliver great results. You deliver more projects/faster/better than anyone else. The Powers-That-Be rarely are aware of the nitty gritty detail of who does what to get the results. Your manager may not even be as aware of what you’re doing/delivering as you think. Your peers may think they had as much to do with what you delivered as you do. This is not malicious–it’s human nature. We live in our own little world and we filter out that which is not most important. Other people’s accomplishments are rarely as important to us as our own.
How Do You Do It?
Tell people what you’ve done. Find a way that is comfortable for you to tell what you’ve accomplished. You know how to do this with friends and family. Use the techniques you used when you were dating–figure out how to make it interesting and not narcissistic. Leaders find out who is doing well through being told. It has to start with you.
Seek out and volunteer for projects. Make sure your leadership knows you are willing and capable when the organization needs someone to step up and make things happen.
Figure out how to get your manager and your peers to be advocates for you. The best way to do this is to be advocates for them. They will likely mirror your behavior. Don’t be afraid to ask for support from your boss or peers to advocate for you being on a project or recommending you.
Make sure key executives (not just your own) know who you are. Figure out a way for them to know your work. One of the best ways to do this is to volunteer for projects in other executives’ areas of responsibility. In other words, be your department’s representative on cross-departmental projects.
Be involved outside your job, especially in organizations where senior leaders participate. Attend and volunteer in professional organizations. Make sure your organizational leadership knows about your successes in these outside organizations.
Speak up. If you don’t contribute to the conversation, people think you can’t/don’t know anything. They don’t make any more thorough analysis than that. If you aren’t speaking up because you don’t think you have anything clever to contribute, the good news is that people don’t judge what you say too closely. So, they do judge when you don’t talk, and they don’t judge the quality of what you say very harshly. Go figure. But speak up.
Become an expert.
Build your expertise. Within your organization, become THE expert on something. Be the ‘go-to’ person for that subject. Stay current in your expertise so people know you are the one who will know when something changes.