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In a workplace swarming with competitive people, it’s an unfortunate reality that one’s performance can sometimes be overshadowed, or simply overlooked.
Sure, delivering on deadline and generating positive outputs are essential, but standing out often takes a little more than quality performance. Chances are there are many people operating at an equal level as you.
This is why, like a brand in the marketplace, you need to find ways to elevate, cut-through and gain the competitive advantage in order to be noticed by your intended audience.
Opportunities to stand out are often so subtle, so simple, that their importance can be easily disregarded or forgotten. Here are a few that have worked for me, and, believe me, there are plenty more out there:
1. Make the most of chance encounters
Most of us attend networking events, but I believe that some of the best opportunities to network lie in the least expected places. On occasions I’ve met people on flights, in retail stores or simply waiting in line with someone.
This never would’ve happened had I not struck up a conversation with someone I didn’t know. Being curious about people and having the courage to engage can bring rewards. Keep in mind that these interactions are not the time for the ‘hard sell’ about you or your business – it’s a balanced, relaxed conversation. Ask them questions. Get to know them. If nothing comes of it, that’s fine, but if something does, well, it could open doors for not just you but the organisation you work for.
2. Sometimes it's better to ask for an apology rather than permission
We always appreciate the colleagues who show initiative and sound judgement. Colleagues that don’t require hand-holding during every decision are genuine assets. They might not always make the right call, but at least they are willing to have a go.
Then, on the occasions where they do request my input, I know it must be for something significant. This tells me a lot about their judgement: that they know when to ask, and when to figure it out for themselves.
Building your personal brand to stand out amongst the bunch takes time and focus. In some ways, you’ve got to be a little selfish before you can be truly generous in life.
3. Provide support
This is all about listening to people and offering your opinion when it’s asked for. People want to be heard, so I can’t overstate how important listening is in developing trust, respect and rapport with colleagues.
If you can build a reputation as a consistently attentive person, someone to be trusted, colleagues will feel comfortable in sharing their ideas and issues with you.
I understand: your ‘to do list’ can make finding this difficult at times, but you can always arrange a time at a later stage. Make the effort; it’ll be worth it.
Of course, the people you interact with the most are the members of your own direct team. This makes it easy to fall into the trap of not branching outside of the team bubble.
Building relationships through informal conversations with colleagues from separate areas of the business will help extend your personal brand. Show an interest in their role, their priorities, ask how you might be able to assist them in their objectives – opportunities for yourself can emerge from simply showing an interest.
How can we help? Please let us know how we can support you or your business?