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Don’t Be Shy. Show Your Boss Your Potential!

It is crucial to that your work ethic, behavior, good spirit, and reliability speak for you without you having to say a thing at work. Furthermore, your boss should be aware of your potential in order to be promoted or be appointed to be involved in portfolio-worthy projects. Of course, being competent within your current job is the starting point, but advancement requires more than that.

Honestly, your boss is already evaluating you. A Harvard survey found that 98% of companies have some sort of system to identify high performers, a select group that represents only about 3 to 5% of the workforce. This is ample proof that there is plenty of room for you to shine. Maintaining high performer status can be as challenging as getting there. The same survey found that up to 20% of these folks fall off the list each year.

I am a big proponent for fulfilling your goals starting today. Here are a few tips you can apply right now to show your boss your true potential:

Early in Your Career…

When you’re new on the job or fresh into the workforce, focus on fitting into the company culture and making connections. This will build a solid foundation for your career path.

  1. Support your boss. Aside from completing the tasks in your job description, one of your main goals is to make your boss shine. Study their priorities so you know where to provide the most support and initiative.

  1. Deliver results. Have documentation that shows that you complete your responsibilities as outlined and deliver your work on time. In addition, track and document your accomplishments. This helps you develop a reputation for meeting and exceeding expectations. When appropriate, identify and provide suggestions to challenges where you can propose solutions.

  1. Humble Yourself. Exhibiting humility through your conversations and interactions tells your team you’re able to honor and respect them. This is extremely important to your superiors and co-workers who have been there longer than you. Being humble shows them that you can take direction well while also giving their ego a bit of a boost. Contribute to the team and share credit with others.

  2. Focus on learning. When you’re new, it is important to soak up all you can about the company, its stakeholders, and anything else pertaining to your job. Your team knows that you’re new. As a result (in most cases), they’re not expecting you to hit the ground running without proper training. That makes this time the best opportunity to study. Ask questions, be observant, and read the latest news. Your preparation will come in handy.

  1. Ask for feedback. Don’t forget to learn about yourself in this period. Invite people (of whom you trust and are connected to your work) to give constructive feedback. Be open to criticism and thank them for their comments.

  2. Showcase your knowledge. There will come a time when you have to put your knowledge and background experience into practice. Always put your best foot forward and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Be dedicated to becoming as efficient as possible in your daily tasks.

Later in Your Career…

As a seasoned professional, it is possible for your expertise to be taken for granted if it isn’t put out front and utilized. Now is the time for your boss to witness your leadership and proficiency.

  1. Continue supporting your boss. Just because you are no longer a rookie, doesn’t mean you put aside the goal of making your boss shine. Until you become your own boss, you need to view your position as being a part of a bigger whole that starts with serving as a relief, not a burden, to your superior.

  1. Develop a specialty. Be prepared to transition from performing primarily busy work to becoming a decision maker. Leverage your strengths by identifying what you’re good at and what you like to do. Then, take initiative in supporting your team with those skills.

  2. Be a role model/mentor. Remember when you were the new kid on the block? Now is the time to give back! Think about the qualities you admire in your own role models and adapt them to suit your style. Reach out to new hires and offer constructive feedback to your peers. In positioning yourself to this role, remember to motivate, encourage, and empower others to learn and grow.

  3. Be a great company ambassador. Your behavior reflects on your company as you deal with clients or the general public. Embody the mission statement so you can project those values into your work ethic and interactions. People around you should take notice in the pride you take in your position and in being an employee of that company.

  4. Take risks. You can act like an entrepreneur even if someone else owns the company. Take sensible risks that will allow you to stretch your skills and enhance your company’s position. Start off small and learn from experience so you can fine tune your judgment over time. Also, involve your boss in your ideas so they can see your initiative and guide you according to the direction the company is going. Be careful not to overstep your boundaries or step on your boss’s toes.

Demonstrating your potential to your boss will help you gain recognition, promotion, and respect. The early years of your career are an ideal time to position yourself for success by strengthening your performance. Later, rely on your business savvy and connections to help you excel as a leader.

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