In a perfect world, your accomplishments would speak for themselves. You’d automatically earn raises and promotions for your hard work, without having to self-promote.
But we all know that’s not how the real world operates. The real world of work is, at times, an unfair place – full of jealous co-workers, tough bosses and tricky office politics.
So, who’s more likely to succeed in the “real” world of work: a showoff, or a shrinking violet?
The answer is, neither! If you’re too cocky, people will dislike and distrust you. But if you’re too humble, co-workers and superiors will likely underestimate you. To advance in your career, you have to carefully make a good name for yourself, without stepping on others’ toes.
Need some practical advice?
Whether you’re in a temporary a direct role, use these tips to strike a healthy balance between humility and boldness – and get ahead at work:
Don’t: Be invisible.
Do: Carve out a unique personal brand.
If you take on tasks behind the scenes at work, your boss may overlook the important contributions you make to your team or department. The solution? Build a personal brand within your work team. Determine what you’re great at, and then take ownership of it. Make it known that you excel in an area and then seek out opportunities to use and grow your skills. Even if your strengths aren’t glamorous or high-tech, being known as a go-to resource for a particular skill will strengthen your reputation in the workplace.
Don’t: Be a pushover.
Do: Share credit.
Ever have someone take credit for the great job you did? Then you know how much it stings – and how detrimental it can be to your career. While being a braggart isn’t the solution, finding the right ways to take credit for your work is essential. And if you don’t like the solo spotlight, shine a light on your entire team. Use “we” statements to distribute attention, without deflecting praise, when you receive it.
Don’t: Always be a follower.
Do: Pursue opportunities to lead and teach.
Success at work often requires you to listen, compromise and follow. But if you’re too humble, you’ll find yourself being overlooked, underutilized and railroaded. To get ahead, you need to move outside your comfort zone. Seize opportunities to spearhead projects or train others. Volunteer to test something new. Sign up to mentor a fellow employee. When your co-workers and boss see that you’re willing and able to lead, they’ll revise their opinions of your worth and potential.
Tired of being overlooked at work?
Register with our Murfreesboro staffing agency, or your local Wood Personnel office. With amazing opportunities throughout Middle Tennessee, and a team of dedicated career experts, Wood can help you make a great name for yourself – and take the next step in your career.