There’s an old saying that “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” It speaks to the importance of having a strong business and personal network. An equally true saying might be “It’s not what you do, it’s what others see.”
Have you ever wondered why some people seem to get all the breaks, while other, equally talented people toil away with their efforts unrecognized? Have you ever wondered why bosses or coworkers never seem to
appreciate the work some people do?
It’s not always office politics
A lot of times the unfairness in the workplace that we attribute to favouritism or “office politics” is really something much less diabolical. You may feel that people don’t appreciate what you do – but perhaps they really just don’t know what you do.
It is also possible that people might be misinterpreting your actions. For example, people might perceive your thoughtful silence in a meeting as disinterest. They may perceive your ‘devil’s advocate’ approach to being objective as ‘not being a team player.’ They may think that because you’re off-site a lot that you don’t do much work. They may not have an understanding of how important your job is to the organization, or the types of challenges you face.
Optics improve success
Optics, the way people perceive things, are important to success in a work environment. The more positively people perceive you, the greater respect you earn and the easier it is to get things done. The more of your successes people are aware of, the more valuable you become to your organization. And when you can combine quality performance with positive optics, everyone wins – you and your organization. The cool thing is that optics are something you don’t have to leave to chance.
Here are a few basic rules for improving your optics:
- Let people know of your successes. You don’t want to get a reputation as a braggart – but being overly modest doesn’t work either
- Think before you speak. Frame everything as positively as you can
- Acknowledge other people’s successes (they, in turn will be more likely to notice yours). Be a person people like to be around.
- Pay attention to your body language. Even when your mouth isn’t talking, your body is
- Don’t be afraid to stand out from the crowd occasionally.