Increasing your visibility at work requires you to showcase your strengths so you are top of mind when opportunities arise that align with your skillset. The recognition of your expertise can come in different ways from supporting a colleague, taking initiative for a project, or even from seemingly insignificant roles you take on in your daily work functions. Understanding that there is not one clear process, how can you build the visibility necessary to rise to leadership?
Foster Effective Collaboration
Meetings provide a great opportunity to build your visibility. Vocalizing your thoughts during a meeting is one obvious way to deliver value. Another way to make an impact is by setting the tone for a productive meeting. For instance, when walking into a room where colleagues are only vaguely familiar with one another, why not begin with an ice breaker? This can help lighten up the mood and encourage more open communication.
One mentor, Thomas Oder, emphasizes the importance of making everyone feel comfortable and at ease. He shares “Regardless of the purpose of the meeting, if people do not feel it is a place where they can take risks, put themselves forward, and express their opinions, then you will have a disengaged meeting experience.”
Vandana Tilwani suggests a group activity to get people to open up and participate before diving into heavier content. “An activity can get them to change their frame of mind.” Carlo Iorio proposes starting with less serious topics to get people to loosen up a bit. Nils Ferms does this by asking everyone to share their best and worst experience in a common situation.
Using an ice breaker to set the tone of the meeting can seem like an insignificant task, but when done right, it can help support others to ease into an enriching discussion.
Sharing team updates to your company is another way to raise awareness for the work you do. These updates aren’t just about sharing what you’re working on. If team updates are widespread across your company, they are helpful in highlighting opportunities for cross-functional collaboration or support.
Before communicating any message to the entire company, you must be thoughtful about how you plan to communicate. As Stan Baldwin explains, there is no “right” structure for communicating these updates. “There are too many important variables when it comes to company communications to specify one as the ‘best way’ to disseminate information. The size and structure of the organization are determinants, as are the significance and the confidentiality of each message.” Many Everwise Mentors agree that the best way to share update depends on several factors such as organization size, stakeholders involved, and business impact.
Kami Rangeloff shares a couple of additional questions to consider, “Is the update detailed or complex (in which case, employees may have questions or get confused)? Will there be an emotional reaction to the communication?” If the answer to either question is yes, she recommends these messages get delivered in a live format.
A few of the most common formats mentors recommend: holding a company-wide meeting, sending an email to all, updating an internal company site, or sharing to other managers for them to share with their teams. Half of our mentors shared they prefer sending an email to all employees, as it ensures offers one form of communication to all. The other half believe it would be easier to let managers communicate the update to their teams.
Strengthen Relationships At Work
Relatedly, if your colleagues don’t know much about you, it’s impossible to have strong visibility at work. When asked what our mentor community prefers doing during work breaks, it’s no surprise that more than half of our mentors enjoy chatting with coworkers.
Mentor and Senior HR Leader Karin Turchin shares, “I usually talk to employees around me. Being in HR, that’s my way of monitoring how people are feeling in the workplace.” Mentor Sherin Ali adds, “A quick chat with the co-worker or even chatting up with the security staff or the housekeeping staff makes a lot of difference in relieving our stress levels and gives us a broader perspective of different facets of life.”
When forming connections with colleagues, you can strengthen those relationships by showing gratification for their work and support. Sharing your appreciation not only boosts your colleagues’ mood, but can also increase their engagement and motivation, thereby, increasing productivity and team performance in the long run.
The Everwise community shared the different ways they demonstrate their appreciation for others at work. One mentor explains you must “First understand what would be of value to that person, then act accordingly. For example; while one person values getting a gift, another might value a public acknowledgement instead.” Another mentor reinforces that though, “Find out what motivates each person and acknowledge them in their own way.” Generally, thanking them in a one-on-one setting, taking them to lunch, or sharing their accomplishments publicly are all appreciated methods of gratification.
When one thinks about rising to leadership, we often forget that small tasks add up. Taking on these seemingly insignificant roles can go a long way in building your visibility.