What Everyone Should Know About Workplace Visibility
With visibility, the goal is to get you in front of the decision-makers so they see what you can do and remember you when they plan for future opportunities. For that, there are certain things about workplace visibility that you should know.
- The perception of your personal brand matters
Your personal brand is judged by people every day, usually in the first few seconds. As soon as they meet you, they are looking at your appearance, listening to what you say and how you say things. Their brain automatically creates a perception as they measure you against an ideal that they have in their head.
What do you want your personal brand to be? You have to decide if your brand is showing up the way you want it to or not. Your credibility and reputation are at stake. You need to define what you want your personal brand to be and begin “being” that person.
- When speaking to others, use language that shows confidence and value for yourself.
- Leave out words that minimize or devalue you and your work.
- Avoid speaking in a way that is more passive by being aware of what you are doing.
- If there are things in your brand that aren’t where you want them to be, then ask for help to improve them.
I have seen people change their perceptions, but intentional actions and consistency are necessary for others to see it as “your new brand” and believe it.
2. You need to be focused on the right things
When you are doing certain activities every day, it can be hard to recognize that some of those things aren’t the best use of your time and talent. These may be things that you have always done, that your team needs your help on, or that your boss asked you to do, but that doesn’t mean you should automatically just say yes to doing more.
When you are asked to take on more work, you need to ask yourself the following:
- Is this an activity that I can add value to or is someone else better suited for this work?
- Is this something I know really well and should be teaching or delegating to someone else now?
- If I agree to do this work, what am I not doing that needs my attention?
- Is this urgent? Do I need to re-prioritize my current work or set expectations that I won’t be able to complete this until a future date?
- Is this an opportunity to change a process or have others do more of the work before it comes to me?
It is easy to simply say yes to someone’s request, but then you pay the price by working more hours to accomplish your own work. Slowing down to ask these questions gives you the time to think about the work, before immediately committing to do it. It also allows you to think about how others could do the work instead of you.
These are opportunities for you to enable others on your team to have visibility and for you to talk about how you are developing your team to play bigger too.
3. Where focus goes, energy flows.
When there is so much happening, it can be easy to get caught up in the mode of being busy and not taking any time to think. You just keep doing more things without a lot of thought behind them. Sometimes you can get paralyzed by the sheer number of things to do and end up accomplishing nothing.
Tony Robbins says, “Where focus goes, energy flows.” If you spend your energy on the one thing that will make a big impact on you, isn’t that better than doing ten things that don’t give you anything in return?
Here is an easy way to find the time. Set the morning alarm for thirty minutes earlier and before you look at your phone, take the time to quiet down your brain and think. When I have done this, I have seen the difference that it makes for me. The key is making it a daily habit and doing it. Here are a few thought starters that you could think about if this is new for you:
- ideas that you want to try
- goals you want to accomplish
- solutions to problems
- assess your progress on your visibility and your career
You can also be quiet and see what shows up in your brain that needs to be considered.
Capture what happens each day, pay attention to the results, and see what a difference it makes for you.
4. There is no such thing as too much visibility
“Is there such a thing as too much visibility?” This is a question I get in nearly every speaking engagement. When I press them for more information, it’s usually a response similar to this one: “I don’t want to be seen as someone who brags or who takes up all the space in the room. I’m afraid that I would be seen as that kind of person if I am being visible, and I don’t want that for myself.”
When I answer the question, I talk about where that concern comes from for them and how I had the same worry. The concern about being too visible shows up because you haven’t seen a way to be visible that plays to your strengths and allows you to be authentic. You have only seen the version of visibility that is over the top and not someone that you want to emulate.
If you are trying to be more visible, know that you can show up in a way that is in your own style. Trust yourself to start taking intentional, consistent actions that push you out of your comfort zone a bit. (There are so many actionable ideas in my book!)
If you need my support to help you navigate the overwhelm and get you focused on the right things, just reach out. Sometimes it just takes a single conversation to help you see what you may be missing and get you on the right track!
Susan M Barber, Author, Podcast Host, Former Fortune 500 IT Director, turned Certified Executive Coach helps business leaders to play bigger, increase their visibility and finally, shine a light on their leadership strengths so they can elevate their position in the workplace. She brings a depth of business knowledge to her coaching from her 25+ years of leadership experience at Kraft Heinz. As the author and podcast host of The Visibility Factor, she is creating a visibility movement for leaders to show their value and be seen for their true talent. Susan is married with three children and lives in the Chicago area.