Team dynamics can often be difficult to negotiate. At work, generally speaking, you are on a team and you contribute. The problem is that you also want to elevate your career and stand out to your boss. So, how can you do that without the rest of the team feeling like you are a jerk (or worse)?
I've had the gift of working in amazing environments on rock star teams. I have also had the (ahem) opposite experience. I've managed teams, been part of teams, as well as been an individual contributor, and through these years, I've found there are a few surefire ways to show you're an asset without being a show-off.
Here's how you can effectively show your value at work (without being a jerk):
1. Do What You Say
My favorite direct reports were good for their word. They were trustworthy. You could truly count on them to deliver, and not just for me. I would see these team members and teammates always doing what they said they would. People notice. It might not seem like it, but when you do what you say always, you will get the important assignments. Being the one that does the important stuff is viewed as valuable, and you're valuable without being a jerk'you're the good guy that people can count on to get stuff done.
2. Solve Problems
The people who come to me with solutions stand out. Problem solvers who are actively working on solutions to organizational challenges stand out for obvious reasons. They care about the problems of the company and are taking the time to solve them. There is a BIG difference between people who solve problems and people who try not to create them. The problem solvers stand out. And when they include others in the solution, all the better, because they are showing me that they are leaders who can activate others to join the cause of solving the big problems we're facing.
3. Share In Victory
Further, managers know that a team builds a victory and solves a problem together. Good managers also can see who's doing the lion's share of the work and really contributing to the victory. If it's you, be sure you are gracious in sharing that victory with the team'that stands out to good managers and to the team.
4. Focus On The Mission
Be monomaniacal about achieving the goals of the company and the team. When you see the team headed down a rabbit hole, gently guide them back to land. Be the one who is focused on achieving the goals and you will stand out. You might be considered a jerk for being the one who asks for focus by the ones who are unfocused, but they will forgive you when you achieve the goals, solve the problems, and share the victory (see above).
5. Be A Trusted Resource
I frequently advocate being a student of your industry. This is applicable to standing out without being perceived as a jerk when you are sharing information with your teammates about the industry and the business. When you are the go-to for information and insights, you are going to stand out. However, if you do this in a smarty-pants spirit, you are on a slippery slope to Jerktown, population: 1.
Being a trusted resource means you are sharing information in the spirit of continuous learning and development. Share that you saw something interesting in the media about the company, competitor, or industry. And when you share this information, offer an insight and an initiation to hear what the recipient of this information thinks.
6. No Brag, Just Fact
If you do awesome work, it's ok to privately share what you're proud of with your manager'key word, privately. Schedule time to share your excitement with your manager. You should try to have monthly check-ins with your manager so that you can gather feedback and continue to advance your career. Keep in mind when you are privately sharing your work with your manager, do it from a place of excitement and pride, not from a place of ego and bragger-y. Excitement is contagious. Your manager may also be able to help you take the work even further.
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This article was originally published at an earlier date.