In tough economic times, such as we’ve faced in recent years, it can be tempting to keep your head down and just focus on doing a good job. I can remember the paranoia that permeated the air whenever layoffs loomed. Everyone retreated to their desks, hoping not to draw any negative attention to themselves. They seemed to believe that if they were invisible, nobody could touch them.
Even in good times, many professionals keep a low profile. They perform their jobs well, but lack visibility. Some are more introverted by nature, choosing to shy away from too much exposure. Others would love greater visibility, but they don’t know how to find it.
In good times or bad, flying under the radar can be harmful to your career. You may be an exceptional performer with unlimited potential, but if others don’t recognize the contributions you are making, your value to the organization is greatly diminished. This is particularly dangerous in tough times, as perceived value is a major factor in determining who keeps their jobs. If you want to advance in your career, influential leaders, in particular, need to understand your role and its significance.
If you’re ready to stop flying under the radar and get recognized for the value you bring to your organization, here are just a few suggestions:
1. Speak up. You, undoubtedly, have ideas and opinions that would enrich discussions and potentially influence your team’s direction. Rather than sit quietly in the corner, share your ideas with others. You can do this in meetings, one on one discussions with your manager, or even in casual lunch or hallway conversations.
2. Get involved. Find opportunities to participate in a cross-functional team. Your manager is likely bogged down with meetings and would love the opportunity to have you represent the group on a particular project team. Also, many organizations have employee affinity groups. These are great opportunities to meet professionals across the company that you otherwise never would have encountered.
3. Raise your hand. If you’re a consistently high performer, you’re probably ready for new challenges. Ask for more responsibility. This is a great way to increase your visibility, as well as demonstrate leadership.
Keeping a low profile can feel much safer than putting yourself out there. You don’t have to worry about public failure, others’ judgments, conflict, etc. But if you want to take your career to the next level, you must become more visible. Start by taking a few small steps. With each step, you’ll gain the confidence to continue to fly higher and higher.
Are you flying under the radar? What steps will you take to increase your visibility?