Success at work is more than meeting expectations; it’s all about exceeding them. In a workplace where nearly everyone is doing good work, it can feel tough to stand out from the pack. Particularly in a larger corporate office, or a quickly-moving startup environment, it’s easy to simply blend in. But there are things you can do to set yourself apart!
Whether you’re an entrepreneur trying to break through the noise or a professional going after a promotion that always seems just out of reach, standing out is a strategy to get you closer to your goal. You’ll stand out by doing what’s outside the ordinary. In the words of Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, “Whatever you do, be different.”
How can you stand out at work in a good way? With the normal way of doing things so ingrained in our minds, it can help to step back, welcome a new perspective and work with intention. Rethink your strategy for success with these four ways to stand out at work.
Become the go-to
One way to make a name for yourself in the workplace is building your reputation as the go-to expert on a topic. When a question arises in your area of expertise, your name will be on everyone’s lips. For example, maybe organization comes naturally and you love the ins and outs of project management. When someone needs expert help building out a workflow, they’ll look to you right away.
This strategy is a smart way to step out from the shadows and become known for something.
Even if your expertise is just a fraction of your full job description, this will set you apart from the crowd. Consider what those around you need (specifically those you need support from) and choose an area to dive into. You might be surprised what opportunities arise from the knowledge you gain.
Make your colleagues’ lives easier
What will get the attention of your peers or superiors? Making their work easier. Getting caught up in our own success is a slippery slope, and many people in the workplace are concerned with only ourselves. Set yourself apart as the person who’s always lending a hand. If you look outward, you just might find the ladder rung you need to get to the next step — and uplift someone else at the same time.
If you look outward, you just might find the ladder rung you need to get to the next step — and uplift someone else at the same time.
What could you help your colleague automate? Who could you connect with a fellow CEO? How could you make your boss’s weekly report even easier to put together? Keep an eye out for tasks, processes, events, responsibilities and more that you can make easier for the people around you.
And if helping others doesn’t seem to pay off instantly, keep at it: research indicates that even if the rewards aren’t immediately apparent, contributing to the success of others pays off in the long run. In a study of employees at a large consulting firm, the top performers were those who provided the most help to colleagues. Why? As they shared knowledge, they gained insights about their own work and then became better problem-solvers holistically.
Go above and beyond
If what you’re doing now isn’t getting attention, take it up a notch. Ask yourself: what have you not been asked to do that would deliver eye-catching results? As Richard Branson says, “The key is to set realistic customer expectations, and then not to just meet them, but to exceed them, preferably in unexpected and helpful ways.”
But don’t equate “going above and beyond” with “working overtime.” It’s not about how much time you put in at the office or how much stress you take on, but the results you bring to life. Going above and beyond looks like going out of your way to make things happen. For example, if you know your client values metrics, prepare an in-depth report ahead of time with top-line details before the sales meeting. Anticipate the needs of others and meet them in an extraordinary way.
It’s not about how much time you put in at the office or how much stress you take on, but the results you bring to life.
Be willing to learn
With the fast pace of development in nearly every field, there are always new systems, skills and trends to learn. Pay attention both to what’s trending in your field and the gaps in your own skill set, and make it your mission to learn. For instance, you might attend a conference where you’ll gain new leadership abilities, or expand your technical abilities by learning new software.
Pay attention both to what’s trending in your field and the gaps in your own skill set, and make it your mission to learn.
When you’re able to provide insightful information and actionable steps on a new area of focus, you will stand out from the crowd. Learning new things may seem like a challenge at first, but it can certainly be done. Make the learning process easier by focusing on your purpose, gaining knowledge by doing, asking for help, finding a mentor and practice, practice, practice.
At Central Exchange, you’ll find a community of women empowering each other to be their best. Come to learn and you’ll find yourself with new skills and new friendships. You are welcome here! Be our guest at one of our many upcoming programs.