The Secret to Making a Greater Impact at Work

By: Kate Patulski

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Do you pride yourself on meeting the expectations of your role or job description and completing tasks on time? That’s a great start, but it’s important to go beyond just fulfilling your job requirements if you want to stand out at work.  Standing out at work creates the best opportunity for growth . . . personally, professionally, and financially.

In today’s employment market, many qualified applicants are competing for a limited number of openings. If you are a small business owner, it’s not unusual to be vying with other businesses to be the consumer’s choice.  Even when you do land a position or new client, you must keep proving your worth to stay relevant.

Strengthening your skills and adding to your achievements makes you more competitive and gives you more security.

Discover the secret to impressing your boss or client while you widen your opportunities and develop your career. Commit to these 3 strategies to increase your impact at work.

Strategy 1:  Cultivate Innovation and Creativity

Expectations are higher now, regardless of your position. You can find ways to increase quality and save money whether you work as a C-suite level executive, in an administrative role, or as an independent contractor selling a product.

These techniques will help you provide solutions with innovative and out-of-the-box thinking:

  1. Continue learning. You are more likely to spot issues and resolve them if you stay on top of developments in your field. Keep your technology skills up-to-date. Read industry publications and attend conferences.  When you grow personally, your professional opportunities will expand.
  2. Clarify priorities. Focus your efforts on the areas where you can expect the greatest returns. Talk with your boss or team lead about what matters most to them.
  3. Develop proposals. Be prepared before you present your ideas to your boss or team lead. If possible, always offer at least two options, and be willing to be intimately involved with one of the options. Utilizing a tool like SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats) will aid in proactive thinking and solutions.
  4. Take risks. Embracing change can feel scary, but it’s essential for making progress. Remind yourself of what you have to gain. Start small and learn from your experiences.  Operate from the mindset of “there is no failure, only feedback”.

Strategy 2:  Make Yourself Visible

Just because you are accomplishing something doesn’t mean everyone will notice. Your accomplishments may not speak for themselves.

Use these tips to learn how to promote yourself effectively, so others will take notice:

  1. Participate in meetings. Use Zoom calls and conference room sessions to deepen your office relationships and communications. Sitting in the background of a meeting will not get you noticed.  If you are going to join a meeting, plan to be present and participate, which increases your visibility. Create a goal for each meeting and practice what you want to say. Questions can be just as effective as statements.  Always use open-ended questions to learn more about the speaker.
  2. Choose your assignments. Take more control of your workday. Volunteer for projects that align with your career goals.  If you are an independent salesperson, make sure your prospect/client knows your intended plan of action.
  3. Network vigorously. Reach out to colleagues in your workplace and at other companies. Aim to meet someone for coffee or lunch at least twice a week.  The greater your network becomes, the more opportunities you will create within your field.
  4. Manage your online presence. Do your social media pages convey the professional image you want? Tweak your LinkedIn profile by updating your headline and work samples. Check your keywords and add a new photo.  Always edit your social media so it represents you in a professional, relatable manner.  Sometimes, social media is the first experience the consumer will have with you. Ask yourself this question when editing your social media, “Based on what I see and read, would I be compelled to work with or interview this person?”.

Strategy 3:  Help Others

Building up your colleagues is likely to bring you more happiness and success. People like to be around people that make them feel good about who they are and what they do.  Earn a reputation for being a team player and promoter of others.

Follow these strategies:

  1. Share feedback. Talking with others about their performance can be awkward, but it’s one of the most effective ways to help them. Provide specific and constructive input that they can act on. Be grateful when someone does the same for you.  Always acknowledge behavior you want to see time and time again.
  2. Provide recognition. Let your coworkers know when they’re doing a great job. Write a thank you message and copy their supervisor.  If you are an independent contractor, acknowledge your clients and vendors when they do something that strengthens your relationship or moves a deal forward.
  3. Make referrals. Be generous with introductions and referrals. You may spark rewarding partnerships and reinforce your own network.
  4. Pitch in. Offer your help without having to be asked. Tackle any remaining tasks necessary to meet a deadline or that positively impacts a client relationship.
  5. Teach others. Maybe your employer has a formal mentoring program or welcomes a new slate of interns each year. Perhaps you can find your own ways to train others and pass along your knowledge and skills.  Be the person that causes others to grow as a result of their relationship with you.

Focus on areas where you can excel and transform yourself into a more valuable team player or resource for the consumer.  Research supports when you make a greater impact at work, it increases your job satisfaction and helps you advance towards your career goals.

Kate Patulski, CMC