Forget all those negative resolutions that start with “I’ll quit” or “I won’t” and try, this year, to approach your resolutions with a positive attitude. If you’ve felt like you were in a rut at the office, this is a great time to get a fresh start and show your manager what you’ve got. Of course every workplace is unique, as is every company culture, so use your best judgment on what will work at your job. The key is to step back and honestly evaluate what you’re bringing to the table, what people perceive your value to be, and how you can improve both your contribution and awareness of same.
Take some extra time, off the clock if necessary, to read up on relevant trade publications or follow trending topics in your trade online. When you find something that will be genuinely useful or interesting, share it with co-workers. You can do this via LinkedIn, email or instant message. Don’t be afraid to share thoughts on articles others might send, especially higher-ups. Indicating that you read an article that your boss’s boss found interesting and sharing a clever comment will help get you noticed for the right reasons. Speak your mind in meetings, ask good questions and if a discussion gets heated don’t be afraid to table it for a more appropriate time and place.
No one likes a know-it-all, or as the Germans say, a Besserwisser. While you want to be authoritative in your space, you also have to be open to learning new things and collaborating with your peers. Mark Weinberger, chief executive-elect of Ernst & Young, told the Washington Post, “working for these high-profile leaders over my career, I found they listened really well and built good teams to debate issues. They did not act like they always had to know the answer themselves. It was okay to rely on other people.” (2) If the future Chairman and CEO of a global corporation, business leader Weinberger, recognized this, you can bet it’s true in smaller workplaces as well. Balance confidence with a winning attitude and drive to succeed and you’ll stand out in the right ways.
Many business are changing constantly, in big ways or small, to stay relevant in this age of rapidly evolving technologies. If your industry is one of them, you need to be “flexible and adaptive … You will not survive and aspire to greatness if you assume there’s just one way of doing things and just continually beat that drum.” So says Robert J Murray, the global chief executive of digital marketing agency iProspect, in an interview with Adam Bryant of the NY Times. (3) Prove that you’re a problem solver, not a problem maker, and a team player and you’ll be far more valued throughout the company.
Going above and beyond at work might seem like the thing to do, but make sure that when you’re taking on additional duties or projects they are worthwhile. Spending four hours a week cleaning your office’s breakroom won’t get you ahead. Writing blog posts for the company blog, however, might. Volunteering for a good cause with your coworkers, and hopefully superiors, may also get you noticed and appreciated by the right people.
As you increase your visibility be sure that you’re always sporting a good attitude and producing good work. The only thing worse than going unnoticed is to be noticed for all the wrong reasons.
About the author
Zoe So comes from a family that knows how to run a sensible business. Rather than join her brothers and sisters as a broker on Wall Street, she opted to become a journalist. Now her family reads her column to decide how to invest their capital. It all works out in the end.