How to: Get Noticed at Work

Written by Gerry Lewis

Most of us want to get noticed at work. Noticed by our peers, our supervisors, our managers and senior management. Being noticed for the right reasons can help us in our careers. It has for mine.

So, what do we need to do to get noticed when everyone (and I do mean everyone) is running at a pace that only seems to be getting faster, and there seems to be little time to differentiate ourselves? Is there a secret?

What I am about to share with you may not be the "magic potion" you had hoped to hear, but I do know it works.

When I started my very first full-time job, my mom took me aside one day and gave me two pieces of advice that I will pass to you. I’ve also added a few more from my own experiences over the years.

Let’s start with hers:

1. Work harder than anyone else in the room
Make it a point to challenge yourself in what you can do and how well you can do it. Don’t be satisfied you’re doing enough because others are doing less than you. Make sure you consistently deliver your best work, come in earlier and stay later if you need to. Be noticed by demonstrating effort, initiative, and passion in what you do. Caution: Do pace yourself. This is not about a competition of who works the longest or who comes in earlier. It is about showing you are passionate about what you do and are serious about getting good work done – all the time.

Build a reputation of delivering great work.

2. Gossip less
It’s easy to talk about other people. I’ve done it, and while it may seem harmless, it isn’t. Talking about other people behind their backs does no one any good. Gossiping will get you noticed for sure but for all the wrong reasons.

I once asked my mom what I should say if someone tried to engage me in a negative conversation about someone else. She gave me a great piece of advice: Tell them you have not experienced that with the individual yourself, so you cannot comment on those statements. I’ve used that line on many occasions and it works nicely to steer the conversation in another direction.

Build a reputation of keeping things professional and fair.

Here are a few more tips that I’ve picked up along the way:

3. Make time to be nice
Being nice is a dying art. It takes no more than a few kind words, a couple of minutes to listen, or a surprise coffee or treat to brighten someone’s day. Making someone’s day a little better does not take much, yet it rarely crosses our minds. I challenge you to think about it more often. Don’t do it with any expectation of anything in return. Do it as a "just because." Imagine if everyone at work did something nice for someone else. Would the day feel easier, less stressful and more civilized? I know it would. I have seen it. Nice people do not finish last. For nice people, it isn’t about the race, it’s about enjoying the people along every day’s journey.

Build a reputation as a nice person.

4. Thank often and mean it
Successful people are grateful people. And as the saying goes, "Gratitude is Reciprocal." Being thankful tells people that you appreciate their time and effort. It may not guarantee they will assist you next time or for that matter, every time. However, I am sure not saying thanks will most likely mean 'no next time.' A thank you email or better yet, a small note of thanks goes a long way. People will remember that effort and gratitude.

Build a reputation as someone who appreciates people’s effort and time.

5. Check your ego at the door
I can say with some authority that checking your ego at the door is a powerful way to get noticed and be remembered. Having met some of the most senior leaders in government and business around the world, I have found (and remember) the ones who did not make me feel below them. This lesson is not just for how to behave as a leader in government or business. It’s a lesson no matter what your role is. Remember to never make anyone feel like they are below you.

Build a reputation of making people feel equal to you.